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Children with disabilities in situations of armed conflict - a discussion paper

THOMAS, Edward
et al
November 2018

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During armed conflict, children with disabilities are caught in a vicious cycle of violence, social polarization, deteriorating services and deepening poverty. Global estimates suggest there are between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities under the age of 15.Given that disability is often not reported due to stigma there is reason to believe actual prevalence could be much higher. Although efforts to ensure the fulfilment of their rights have improved, girls and boys with disabilities continue to remain among the most marginalized and excluded segment of the population. This is amplified during situations of armed conflict. The barriers to full participation they face on a day-to-day basis are intensified and compounded when infrastructure is destroyed, and services and systems are compromised and made inaccessible. This results in the further exclusion and marginalization of children with disabilities, and prevents them from accessing schooling, health and psychosocial support, or a means of escape from conflict.

 

When systems and services break down, children are also left more susceptible to violence. Injuries sustained by many children during armed conflict may also lead to long-term impairments. There are six grave violations of children’s rights and protection in armed conflict that are on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council; killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, rape or other sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. Governments around the world have committed themselves to respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of children with disabilities, including in situations of armed conflict, and progress is being made. Efforts by a broad range of actors to implement the CRPD, CRC and other human rights instruments include the development of standards to address the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian crises, and guidance on making humanitarian response, development and peacebuilding more inclusive. Efforts to improve the collection and use of data concerning children and adults with disabilities are also underway. Yet, as this discussion paper makes clear, much more needs to be done. Investments in disability-inclusive humanitarian action and recovery from crises will pay off, contributing towards a dividend of peace built on greater equality, tolerance and justice. 

How law protects persons with disabilities in armed conflict

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)
December 2017

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This paper identifies commonalities between international humanitarian law (IHL) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and emphasizes certain specific contributions of IHL to the protection of persons with disabilities in armed conflict.

It is hoped that this legal analysis will contribute to current efforts by the ICRC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, as well as other actors, to operationalise better inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in carrying out humanitarian activities in armed conflict

International humanitarian law and persons with disabilities

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
July 2017

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International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that, in times of armed conflict, seeks – for humanitarian reasons – to protect persons who are not, or are no longer directly participating in hostilities, and to restrict means and methods of warfare. IHL requires parties to armed conflicts to afford special respect and protection to persons with disabilities and helps ensure their inclusion. A number of weapons-related treaties aims to prevent certain disabilities from occurring by prohibiting the use of particular weapons and reducing the dangers they pose. They also seek to ensure that victims receive appropriate assistance.


In addition to IHL, international human rights law (IHRL) – particularly the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol – contains important protections. For example, the CRPD recognizes States Parties' obligations under, inter alia, IHL and IHRL and obliges States Parties to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities during armed conflict (Art. 11).

"As if we weren’t human" : discrimination and violence against women with disabilities in northern Uganda

BARRIGA, Shantha Rau KWON, Soo-Ryun
August 2010

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After 20 years of displacement and war in northern Uganda, this research report presents information about the situation of women who acquired their disabilities due to the war or who already had disabilities before the war. The report presents interviews from women with disabilities, their family members, international agencies and NGOs, and analyses their responses given the context that Uganda is a signatory to international treaties, such as the CRPD. The report concludes by making recommendations to the government of Uganda

The medical peace work textbook

ROWSON, M
MELF, K
Eds
2008

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This textbook provides an introduction to medical peace work and includes chapters relating to human rights; the causes and health effects of war and violent conflict; how health workers can promote peace-building and reconstruction; and the health and well-being needs of refugees and immigrants. The book is aimed at doctors, nurses, public health workers and other health professionals, and students. This e-textbook is part of an online course on Medical Peace Work. The book can be consulted, downloaded, or printed for free without registering for the course

Cluster munitions in Kosovo : analysis of use contamination and casualities

MOYES, Richard
February 2007

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This report consists of a detailed assessment of the use of cluster munitions in Kosovo. More specifically, it draws on data sets to examine the claims and counterclaims of humanitarian organisations and of user governments. It concludes with an analysis of how key governments responded to lessons learned from cluster munition use and there impact in Kosovo

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

The people on war report : ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war

GREENBERG RESEARCH INC
1999

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Report of a consultation with civilians and combatants in 12 countries that have endured the modern forms of war. The research included national opinion surveys, focus group discussions and face-to-face interviews. Among the findings of the report are that combatants find war a bloody, terrifying and humiliating expereince; for combatants the most painful thing about war is what happens to their families and home villages; for civilians there is an immense emotional and physical toll; the most widespread experience of civilians is the radical disruption of family life; in many countries whole societies are at war, and people at all levels are totally engaged in combat; in the past women were seen as needing protection, however now they have become part of the action often as combatants; specific protections for women and children have dissolved; children are often at the centre of conflict and may be recruited; there is little awareness of the Geneva conventions on the conduct of war in many conflict situations

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