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Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2475 (2019), Ground-breaking text on protection of persons with disabilities in conflict

UNITED NATIONS
October 2019

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The Security Council adopted its first-ever resolution calling upon Member States and parties to armed conflict to protect persons with disabilities in conflict situations and to ensure they have access to justice, basic services and unimpeded humanitarian assistance.

By the terms of resolution 2475 (2019), the 15-member Council called upon all parties to armed conflict to allow and facilitate safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance.  It further urged them to prevent violence and abuses against civilians in situations of armed conflict, including those involving in killing and maiming, abduction and torture, as well as rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Women and girls with disabilities. Needs of survivors of gender based violence and services offered to them

BURGHAL, Waseem
March 2019

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This study on GBV among women and girls with disabilities was conducted by UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) with the support of Denmark in the context of the GBV Sub-Cluster Strategy 2018-2020. It was based on a needs analysis and mapping of services offered to women and girls with disabilities aged 15 and older who are survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, particularly in view of the poor protection, care and social services available to women survivors of violence. Its objective was to map the available services; analyze major gaps and challenges related to service delivery; identify roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and service providers, including stakeholder coordination, legislation and policies, capacity, prevention and response services, the referral process and accountability; as well as to make recommendations and propose interventions to address the weaknesses in the protection system for women and girls with disabilities in Palestine.

Minimum standards for protection, gender and inclusion in emergencies

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES (IFRC)
November 2018

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Minimum standards for protection, gender and inclusion in emergencies (2018) is in its second edition. The first pilot version of the IFRC Minimum standard commitments to gender and diversity in emergency programming was published in 2015. The pilot version has been tested globally by Red Cross and Red Crescent staff, volunteers and management in low-, medium- and high-scale disasters and humanitarian crises. This edition is the result of three years of testing, revision and feedback from protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) and sectoral specialists. New chapters, such as cash-based interventions, have been added as well as a stronger focus on sexual and gender-based violence and disability inclusion to align with the commitments of the IFRC and its member National Societies. This edition is accompanied by the IFRC Protection, gender and inclusion in emergencies toolkit (2018–2019).

This guidance presents Red Cross and Red Crescent staff, members and volunteers with a set of minimum standards for protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) in emergencies. It aims to ensure that the emergency programming of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Societies provides dignity, access, participation and safety for all people affected by disasters and crises.

It provides practical guidance on how to mainstream these four principles in all sectors, based on a consideration of gender, age, disability and other diversity factors. This includes limiting people’s exposure to the risks of violence and abuse and ensuring that emergency programmes “do no harm”.

The standards address protection, gender and inclusion concerns by providing practical ways to engage with all members of the community, respond to their differing needs and draw on their capacities in the most non-discriminatory and effective way. This helps to ensure that local perspectives guide assistance delivery. The standards also support incorporation of the seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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. 

Invisible victims of sexual violence. Access to justice for women and girls with disabilities in India

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
April 2018

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This report is based on 17 cases of sexual violence against women and girls with disabilities in eight Indian states. It comes five years after The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (the 2013 amendments) were adopted in India. It follows Human Rights Watch’s November 2017 report “Everyone Blames Me”: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India, which found that rape survivors still face significant barriers obtaining justice and critical support services because legal and other reforms have not been fully realised.

This report finds that while the 2013 amendments have made significant progress in responding to the widespread challenges that victims of sexual violence endure, they have yet to properly develop and implement support for survivors with disabilities in the form of trainings and reforms throughout the criminal justice system. It highlights gaps in enforcement and calls for concrete measures to address the needs of women and girls with disabilities seeking justice for abuse. 

Gender and disability intersectionality in practice: Women and girls with disabilities addressing discrimination and violence in Africa.

ADAMS, Lisa
et al
March 2018

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This new Making It Work report presents 9 good practices successfully addressing the prevention and response to violence and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities in Africa. It also contains key advocacy recommendations that can be used for disability and/or gender advocates in order to further promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

The practices were:

  • Gender-Based Violence prevention through a grassroots initiative led by women with disabilities (Rwanda)
  • Protecting urban refugee women and girls with disabilities from abuse and discrimination in Kenya
  • Advancing the access of deafblind women and girls to Sexual and Reproductive Health (Malawi)
  • Enhancing access to justice for GenderBased Violence survivors with intellectual challenges through integrated legal and psychosocial support service provision (Kenya)
  • Developing knowledge and empowerment through the Gender and Disability Inclusive Development Community of Practice (Cameroon)
  • Promoting a safer, Gender-Based Violence free environment for women and girls with disabilities in Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Restoring the dignity of women and girls with disabilities in the Plateau State of Nigeria
  • Forging a district community where women and girls with disabilities live dignified and empowered lives (Uganda)
  • Emerging Practice: Fostering peace and respect by bringing women and girls with disabilities concerns into a women’s organization (Kenya)

Guidance on disability inclusion for GBV (gender based violence) partners in Lebanon: outreach, safe identification, and referral of women, children and youth with disabilities

WOMEN'S REFUGEE COMMISSION
UNICEF LEBANON
February 2018

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This guidance, and the associated toolkit, are designed to support frontline workers, community volunteers, and mobilizers and their supervisors who are working in GBV prevention and response to foster inclusion of persons with disabilities in their community activities. It includes guidance, key actions and tools to improve accessibility of existing community processes and activities relating to GBV. This resource has been developed based on the findings of a needs assessment conducted in 2017 which confirmed that women, children and youth with disabilities in Lebanon and their caregivers are facing a range of GBV-related risks.

Measuring the prevalence of violence against women with disabilities

VAUGHAN, Cathy
et al
February 2018

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This short report summarises discussions during a meeting concerning what is known about violence against women with disabilities and the evidence gaps, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. It includes a brief overview of the current situation and suggested ways forward for researchers, the kNOwVAWdata initiative and other regional and global initiatives to measure prevalence of violence against women with disabilities, and for relevant regional and national institutions

From the day they are born: a qualitative study exploring violence against children with disabilities in West Africa

NJELESANI, Bridget
et al
January 2018

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The qualitative study presented in this article describes the violence experienced by children with disabilities in Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Togo from the perspectives of children, community members, and disability stakeholders. The study contributes to the literature on violence against children with disabilities, which in West Africa is largely nonexistent. 

A qualitative study design guided data generation with a total of 419 children, community members, and disability stakeholders. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Stakeholders shared their observations of or experiences of violence against children with disabilities in their community in interviews and focus groups


BMC Public Health 18:153 2018

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5057-x

Let me decide and thrive - Global discrimination and exclusion of girls and young women with disabilities

PLAN INTERNATIONAL
December 2017

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Girls and young women with disabilities have the right to make decisions over their own bodies and live free from violence and fear. Yet, on a global level, they are the people least likely to enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Compelled by this reality, Plan International and the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have joined forces to ensure young women and girls with disabilities can exercise choice and have control over their bodies. The Let Me Decide and Thrive initiative is supported by in-depth, critical field and desk research and aims to empower girls and young women with disabilities, raise awareness of their plight among stakeholders, and work to secure their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

This research found that the barriers to SRHR confronted by girls and young women with disabilities are overwhelming: infantilisation and disempowerment; forced sterilisation, abortion, and contraception; disproportionate suffering from all forms of violence; substantial barriers in accessing justice; discriminatory attitudes, norms, and behaviours rendering them invisible; and a lack of accessible and appropriate SRHR information and services.

Human rights of refugee-survivors of sexual and gender-based violence with communication disability

MARSHALL, Julie
BARRETT, Helen
November 2017

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The main aims of this project were to document current knowledge about the intersectionality between sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), communication disability and refugees, to identify any reported good practice, and to begin to understand and describe the challenges to supporting refugee-survivors of SGBV with communication disability, in Rwanda. The project involved 54 participants, including 50 humanitarian and partner organisation staff and four carers of refugees with communication disabilities, from two locations (camp-based and urban refugees).

 

International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,  20:1, 44-49,

DOI: 10.1080/17549507.2017.1392608

Everywhere the bombing followed us. Forced displacement and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Perspectives of Syrian women refugees in Lebanon

BEAUJOLAIS, Aurelie
September 2017

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Based on a survey of 205 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in-depth interviews with 14 Syrian women refugees originally from different towns and cities in Syria, and additional research, this study confirms that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas drives multiple forced displacements and induces a pattern of displacement that increases the vulnerability of civilians. Quantitative data collected during the survey confirms the correlation between multiple forced displacements and the use of the explosive weapons, as almost half of all respondents had been internally displaced prior to seeking external refuge in Lebanon, with an average of 3 internal displacements within their own city. The women interviewed highlighted the deprivation induced by forced displacement. The study also reflects the considerable harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in terms of socio-economic vulnerability, linked to the loss of livelihood and the disruption of civilian infrastructure, as well as the long-term impact on mental health. Dire social impacts were emphasised by respondents, namely aid dependence and new restrictions encountered by people living with disabilities, along with a loss of personal dignity, as well as the loss of education for Syrian children

 

School Violence and Bullying: Global Status Report

UNESCO
January 2017

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"A 2012 report by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children1 notes that ‘more than one billion children around the world attend school. Many of these children enjoy their right to be taught in a safe and stimulating environment. For many others, however, schooling does not guarantee such opportunity. These girls and boys are exposed to bullying, sexual and gender-based violence, corporal punishment and other forms of violence… Many are also exposed to schoolyard fighting, gang violence, assault with weapons, and sexual and gender-based violence by their own peers. New manifestations of violence are also affecting children’s lives, notably the phenomenon of cyberbullying via mobile phones, computers, websites and social networking sites. The symposium is one of a series of international meetings UNESCO has organised to address school violence and bullying and it is intended to promote evidence-based action by educators, policy makers, professionals and practitioners in the education, health and other sectors. Consequently, this report aims to provide education sector stakeholders with a framework for planning and implementing effective programmes to prevent and respond to school violence and bullying as part of wider efforts to address violence against children." 

Virtual knowledge center to end violence against women and girls

UNITED NATIONS ENTITY FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
2017

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This Knowledge Centre is designed to serve the needs of policymakers, programme implementers and other practitioners dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls. It's primary purpose is to encourage and support evidence-based programming to more efficiently and effectively design, implement, monitor and evaluate initiatives to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. To achieve this, the Global Virtual Knowledge Centre offers a ‘one stop’ service to users by making available the leading tools and evidence on what works to address violence against women and girls. It draws on expert recommendations, policy and programme evaluations and assessments, and fundamentally, on practitioners’ experiences from around the world

Global database on violence against women

UN WOMEN
2017

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"Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. According to a 2013 global review of available data, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Eliminating such violence globally requires intensive efforts, which led world leaders to establish an online tool that increases opportunities to exchange experiences and strengthen knowledge to prevent and stop violence against women. The Global Database on Violence against Women provides easy access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on measures undertaken by United Nations Member States to address all forms of violence against women.

The Database is designed to:

  • Provide easy access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on measures undertaken by Governments to address all forms of violence against women;
  • Increase opportunities for exchange of experiences in addressing violence against women;
  • Strengthen the knowledge-base for effective policy responses to prevent and address violence against women; and
  • Encourage the further collection, availability, use and dissemination of data on violence against women, as well as analysis of such data"

Spotlight on Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls - UN WOMEN 2017

UN WOMEN
2017

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Spotlights are made on areas of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and specific targets and indicators are given. The spotlights are on intimate partner violence, harmful practices (including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM)), unpaid care and domestic work, women in leadership, sexual and reproductive health and the gender data gap. Data gaps are identified and a five year programme is outlined, Making Every Women and Girl Count, which is designed to provide technical and financial support to countries to improve the production and use of gender statistics in order to monitor the implementation of gender equality commitments in the 2030 Agenda.

Protection mainstreaming toolkit field - testing version

GLOBAL PROTECTION CLUSTER
2017

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The Global Protection Cluster (GPC) Protection Mainstreaming Toolkit is designed as a companion to the GPC Protection Mainstreaming Training Package.The Training Package is the starting point to understand the concept and principles of “protection mainstreaming”. The Toolkit is designed to practically assist humanitarian workers to mainstream protection at the individual programme or project level as well as at the collective strategic and coordination level. The Toolkit targets coordination structures (e.g. Clusters, Inter-Cluster Coordination Groups, and Humanitarian Country Teams) and donors by providing the tools and necessary advice to mainstream protection into their strategies and throughout the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). It also targets operational organisations (e.g. UN, INGOs and NNGOs), with the tools to mainstream protection into their organisational procedures and programmes. Finally, the Toolkit allows humanitarian workers to monitor and evaluate the process and the impact of having mainstreamed protection on the affected population.

Sexual Abuse of Persons with Disabilities - Research

Rob Aley
et al
November 2016

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The aim of the research was to investigate the social, cultural and institutional factors which contribute to the high incidence of sexual abuse of persons with disabilities in East Africa and to identify interventions which could change detrimental attitudes, beliefs and practices which perpetuate this high incidence. The research is framed within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), particularly articles 12, 13 and 16.

The study used a qualitative participatory action research approach and worked with local partner organisations and Ugandan and Kenyan field level researchers to collect data. Survivors of sexual abuse were not interviewed but instead the research investigated the understandings, beliefs and practices of a range of service providers and key responders who are involved in the prevention of and response to sexual abuse against persons with disabilities in their communities. Groups consulted included police, teachers, health-care workers, government administrators, faith and community organisations and traditional leaders, as well as persons with disabilities and their parents. Participatory workshops were run with a reference group of people with disabilities (with a range of impairments and experiences) and relevant specialists at the initial stage and during the participatory analysis process. After initial orientation and training the field researchers undertook a total of 52 individual interviews and 9 focus group discussions with a range of stakeholders.

The overall findings show that social attitudes and understanding of disability and sexuality in general are strong influencing factors on the risks that persons with disability face in relation to sexual abuse. Participants reported a range of harmful attitudes and beliefs about disability and about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. It is very common for cases of abuse to go unreported and to be dealt with at the family or community level, rather than being viewed as a serious criminal matter which should be taken to the formal authorities. Many barriers exist, especially at community level which mean abuse does not get reported. Lack of awareness and knowledge, stigma and exclusion and poverty were key drivers of continuing abuse and survivors of abuse seldom get proper support. Guidelines, training and clear procedures for good practice in the various professions were generally weak or absent. Key recommendations were generated for both community level interventions and in relation to policy and training at regional and national levels. The practical implementation of some recommendations was undertaken.

Sexual Abuse of Persons with Disabilities - Research

ALEY, Rob
et al
November 2016

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Abstract
The aim of the research was to investigate the social, cultural and institutional factors which contribute to the high incidence of sexual abuse of persons with disabilities in East Africa and to identify interventions which could change detrimental attitudes, beliefs and practices which perpetuate this high incidence. The research is framed within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), particularly articles 12, 13 and 16.

The study used a qualitative participatory action research approach and worked with local partner organisations and Ugandan and Kenyan field level researchers to collect data. Survivors of sexual abuse were not interviewed but instead the research investigated the understandings, beliefs and practices of a range of service providers and key responders who are involved in the prevention of and response to sexual abuse against persons with disabilities in their communities. Groups consulted included police, teachers, health-care workers, government administrators, faith and community organisations and traditional leaders, as well as persons with disabilities and their parents. Participatory workshops were run with a reference group of people with disabilities (with a range of impairments and experiences) and relevant specialists at the initial stage and during the participatory analysis process. After initial orientation and training the field researchers undertook a total of 52 individual interviews and 9 focus group discussions with a range of stakeholders.

The overall findings show that social attitudes and understanding of disability and sexuality in general are strong influencing factors on the risks that persons with disability face in relation to sexual abuse. Participants reported a range of harmful attitudes and beliefs about disability and about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. It is very common for cases of abuse to go unreported and to be dealt with at the family or community level, rather than being viewed as a serious criminal matter which should be taken to the formal authorities. Many barriers exist, especially at community level which mean abuse does not get reported. Lack of awareness and knowledge, stigma and exclusion and poverty were key drivers of continuing abuse and survivors of abuse seldom get proper support. Guidelines, training and clear procedures for good practice in the various professions were generally weak or absent. Key recommendations were generated for both community level interventions and in relation to policy and training at regional and national levels. The practical implementation of some recommendations was undertaken.

Sexual violence against women with disabilities in Ghana: Accounts of women with disabilities from Ashanti Region

OPOKU, Maxwell Peprah
et al
2016

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This exploratory study aimed to document the causes and consequences of sexual violence against women with disabilities in Mampong Municipality of Ashanti region in Ghana. The 41 participants, made up of women living with intellectual, visual and hearing disabilities, were interviewed using convenience and snowball sampling techniques

Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development (formerly Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal) Vol. 27, No.2, 2016

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