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COVID-19 and International Humanitarian Law

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)
March 2020

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International humanitarian law (IHL) is a key legal framework that provides crucial safeguards to people affected by armed conflicts. This overview summarizes some of the main provisions of IHL that may be particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid review of the inclusion of people with disabilities and older people in gender-based violence (GBV) humanitarian interventions

PEARCE, Emma
MURRAY, Sinead
REIS, Chen
May 2019

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VOICE has partnered with Elrha to conduct a rapid review to:

1. Improve understanding of how people with disabilities and older people are included in GBV interventions;

2. Assess how strategies for DOAI are aligned with the recently published Humanitarian Inclusion Standards (HIS) for Older People and People with Disabilities;

3. Identify and document positive practice examples of inclusion of people with disabilities and older people in GBV interventions.

 

The VOICE review team collected qualitative and quantitative data through a range of methodologies, including a desk review of formal and grey literature such as programme documentation, and key informant interviews with key stakeholders.​

Missing millions: How older people with disabilities are excluded from humanitarian response

SHEPPARD, Phillip
POLACK, Sarah
McGIVERN, Madeleine
July 2018

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The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of older people with disabilities across a range of humanitarian settings, considering:

  • whether older people with disabilities have additional needs and challenges accessing humanitarian assistance and protection
  • what factors facilitate or limit access by older people with disabilities to humanitarian assistance and protection
  • to what extent is humanitarian response inclusive of older people with disabilities

A systematic literature review of published studies was conducted. Key online humanitarian guidelines were explored to review how far they explicitly address older people with disabilities. Data from six population-based disability surveys comparing the living situation of older people with and without disabilities were analysed. These included databases from two crises-affected populations in Haiti (post-earthquake) and Palestine. Data from four non-humanitarian settings was also reviewed to explore more broadly the situation for older people with disabilities – India, Guatemala, Cameroon and Nepal. Interviews were held with older people with disabilities, members of their families and local key informants in two conflict-affected populations in Ndutu and Mtendeli refugee camps in Western Tanzania, and Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine to find out about their experiences. Staff of five international agencies working in humanitarian response were also interviewed. 

 

Findings highlight particular issues facing older people with disabilities in humanitarian crises: more risk escaping from danger;  barriers to accessing social protection and work; barriers to accessing health and rehabilitation services; barriers to accessing food and other essentials; unsuitable housing and poor living conditions;  insecurity and discrimination; threats to dignity and independence; social isolation and loneliness; risks to mental health; and missing from humanitarian response.

 

A table brings together the findings from the different components of the research to show the needs, risks, barriers and enablers for older people with disabilities identified in the research. Recommendations are provided to humanitarian donors, policy makers and practitioners

South Sudan: People with disabilities, older people face danger

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
May 2017

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It is reported that people with disabilities and older people in South Sudan face greater risks of being caught in fighting and greater challenges in getting necessary humanitarian assistance. In February and March 2017, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 45 people with disabilities and older people in displacement sites in Juba and Malakal, as well as in Panyijar county in the former Unity state, where the UN declared famine in two counties in February. Human Rights Watch also met with aid organizations and the South Sudan Human Rights Commission. The challenges faced by people with disabilities are reported.

The gap report

THE JOINT UNITED NATIONS PROGRAMME ON HIV AND AIDS (UNAIDS)
July 2014

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The goal of this report is to provide the best possible data on the global AIDS epidemic, with a particular focus on information and analysis on the people left behind. The report highlights these gaps firstly in regional terms, providing “Regional Snapshots” and then explores issues faced by the following 12 populations that have been left behind by the AIDS response: people living with HIV, adolescent girls and young women, prisoners, migrants, people who inject drugs, sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, children and pregnant women living with HIV, displaced persons, people with disabilities and people aged 50 years and older

Hidden victims of the Syria crisis : disabled, injured and older refugees

HELPAGE INTERNATIONAL
HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL
April 2014

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This report presents research undertaken to highlight the number and needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon living with impairment, injury and chronic disease – for the purposes of this study these groups are referred to as “people with specific needs”. Throughout the report specific consideration is given to the position of older people with specific needs. Due to access and security constraints it was not possible to collect data in Syria itself, however it is recognised that the needs of refugees identified in the following report will be reflected within Syria, and that in this more extreme humanitarian situation the issues outlined below demand further consideration and response

Chapter 11 : protection of persons with specific needs

THE CAMP MANAGEMENT PROJECT (CMP)
May 2008

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This chapter outlines the key issues of persons with specific needs in internally displaced persons(IDP) or refugee communities and provides practical recommendations for a camp management agencies
Published in Camp Management Toolkit by The Camp Management Project

Supporting older people in Darfur

HELP AGE INTERNATIONAL
2008

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This leaflet identifies the issues faced by older people living in displaced people's camps in Darfur. It briefly explores a range of key issues relating to disability, including: isolation, limited mobility, health, older people as carers, psychological and social effects and lack of intergenerational support

The protection of older persons and persons with disabilities

UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
June 2007

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"This paper examines the challenges which older persons and persons with disabilities face in accessing protection, including assistance, in situations of displacement. It reviews current policies on the protection of displaced older persons and those with disabilities; highlights the main protection challenges faced by these individuals; and outlines efforts made by UNHCR and partners to respond to these challenges. Finally, it summarizes the key areas for attention and follow-up in the next three years to improve its performance in providing protection and support to older persons and persons with disabilities"
EC/58/SC/CRP.14

Protecting and assisting older people in emergencies

WELLS, Jo
December 2005

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The rapid increase in the older population worldwide poses new challenges, particularly in resource poor countries and in emergency settings. Older people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disaster or conflict and less able to adapt to sudden disruptions in their lives. They can also make crucial contributions to their communities, caring for orphans, providing inter-generational support, helping resolve conflicts, offering their knowledge on alternative and traditional healing practices. This document looks in some detail at both the needs and strengths of the elderly in emergencies and calls for greater promotion of the rights of older people, their inclusion in all stages of humanitarian interventions, mainstreaming and allocation of adequate resources for older people's protection

Reproductive health outlook

PROGRAM FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTH (PATH)
2004

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Provides summaries of research findings, programme experience and clinical guidelines related to key reproductive health topics, as well as analyses of policy and programme implications. Reproductive Health Outlook is designed for reproductive health programme managers and decision makers working in developing countries and low-resource settings

From autonomy to dependency : barriers to independent living encountered by elderly Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

LEMIRE, Xavier
DUBOIS-RONDON, Bénédicte
LEPRESLE, Claude-André
2004

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This survey explores the situation of elderly Palestinian people living in camps in Lebanon, covering both individual abilities and environmental resources, and identifies the main obstacles to their leading an independent life. The aim is to determine how to improve access to their rights and to adequate services

Where there is no psychiatrist : a mental health care manual

PATEL, Vikram
2003

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This is a practical manual about mental health care, aimed at community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors. It describes more than 30 clinical problems associated with mental illness, using a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management. It addresses the lack of understanding of mental health among many health workers

Coping with disasters : a guidebook to psychosocial intervention

EHRENREICH, John H
MCQUAIDE, Sharon
October 2001

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This manual is a guide to psychosocial interventions to help people cope with the emotional effects of disasters. Some are direct responses to the trauma of disasters, while others are longer-term responses. Even more than the physical effects of disasters, the emotional effects cause long-lasting suffering, disability and loss of income

Handbook for emergencies

UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR)
2001

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The purpose of this revised handbook is to provide guidance to field workers during emergency situations. It is divided into four sections: UNHCR principles of international protection and emergency response, emergency management, operations (including health, food, sanitation and water), and support to operations. The appendices include a number of useful tools, indicators, and resources; memoranda of understanding; and a glossary. The text of the handbook is available as a single and fairly large PDF file (2,305kb). Therefore, the downloading time for some users may be significant.

4th report on the world nutrition situation : nutrition throughout the life cycle

UNITED NATIONS ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE ON COORDINATION SUB-COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION (ACC/SCN)
January 2000

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"The Fourth Report on the World Nutrition Situation is part of a series of ACC/SCN reports initiated in the mid-1980s on the nutritional status of populations in developing countries. This report is built around the theme ‘nutrition throughout the life cycle’ This report highlights the size of the malnutrition problem and its consequences for human and economic development. It stresses the need to move ahead in creative partnerships. The Fourth Report provides evidence of contrasts - contrasts in the prevalence and trends of malnutrition, contrasts in actions taken, contrasts in progress made, and contrasts in the availability of data on the extent and causes of malnutrition"

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