People living in fragile states and conflict affected areas face direct and indirect impacts that can increase the incidence of disability, including psychosocial disabilities as a result of trauma. Persons with disabilities living in these countries, particularly women and children, also face increased vulnerability.
Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) requires states parties to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk including situations of armed conflict. Article 32 of UNCRPD requires that international cooperation, including emergency responses and assistance toward peace building and rebuilding efforts, be accessible to and inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities are often forgotten or excluded from accessing mainstream humanitarian aid and protection due to physical and attitudinal barriers and a lack of access to mobility and assistive devices, health services and rehabilitation. Both direct and indirect discrimination occurs when persons with disabilities are not included in response efforts and rebuilding following conflict.
Women with disabilities experience increased exposure to gender based violence in displaced communities, but experience it in ways that are different from their peers without disabilities (See Gender). This requires specific actions when addressing protection.
Humanitarian aid and protection agencies must take specific actions to include persons with disabilities in their planning and response. Persons with disabilities are often excluded from planning and response processes because they are mistakenly considered to be unable to contribute to the planning or rebuilding process, and are often viewed only as victims. Inclusion of persons with disabilities, especially women, in the planning of response, reconstruction and peace building can ensure both their unique abilities are realised, as well as ensuring that their needs and rights are considered.
Resources below include papers providing a general overview of the situation of persons with disabilities in fragile states and conflict affected areas, articles, and tools and strategies for inclusion.
See also: Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction, Gender and Mental health and disability.