On 27 July 2022, disability organisations supporting relief efforts in Ukraine adopted the “Riga Declaration”, which calls for a peaceful and disability-inclusive future in Ukraine.
The Declaration states that an inclusive reconstruction requires the involvement of persons with disabilities at all levels. In addition, it must design a social system that guarantees independence, self-reliance and participation of persons with disabilities as active members of the community.
In the document, we condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, highlight the difficulties that persons with disabilities face both in Ukraine and while fleeing the war, and express our support for Ukraine’s reconstruction and its accession to the EU. We urge the EU, the Ukrainian Government, the United Nations and the wider humanitarian community to support the reconstruction of an inclusive and resilient society. Notably, we ask for:
- Meaningful participation of representative organisations of persons with disabilities in all decision-making processes;
- Reasonable accommodation of the basic needs and specific requirements of persons with disabilities;
- Accessible shelter and evacuation for persons with disabilities;
- A reconstruction process that ensures an accessible society;
- A stop to the institutionalisation of children and adults with disabilities in and from Ukraine.
This Declaration was adopted during the conference “With today’s experience for the future of Ukraine” organised by SUSTENTO – the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations. This conference was organised in the framework of our Ukraine programme, financed by CBM International.
Gunta Anca, SUSTENTO’s chairperson and EDF’s vice-president, traced a connection between inclusive reconstruction and Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. She stressed that the country must adapt to the EU’s social policy and develop five areas: accessibility, social protection, economic independence, independent life and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities through their representative organisations.
Gordon Rattray, our Ukraine Programme Coordinator, explained that disability-inclusive humanitarian action cannot be seen as an insurmountable challenge, but rather as an opportunity to build resilient communities and improve society for everyone in the long term.
Read the “Riga Declaration”