EDF and NADP meet Commissioner Dalli to discuss EU actions to support persons with disabilities and their families in the Ukraine war

EDF and NADP meet Commissioner Dalli to discuss EU actions to support persons with disabilities and their families in the Ukraine war

On March 25, the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine (NADP) jointly sent a letter addressed to the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli concerning the situation of persons with disabilities both in Ukraine and who have left to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. 

The meeting took place on Wednesday, April 6 with the aim to discuss European Union actions to support persons with disabilities and their families in the Ukraine war.  

During the opening remarks, Dalli expressed her concern about the consequences of migration in particular human trafficking and highlighted the EU Temporary Protection Directive as the main instrument that will allow Ukrainians to obtain residential rights, education, medical care and access to the labour market. 

EDF and the NADP reminded that at the beginning of the war there were 2.7 million persons with disabilities registered in Ukraine. The current situation of adults and children with disabilities and that of their families is very severe. They are often living in inhumane conditions, without access to accessible shelters or abandoned in institutions.  

Both organisations emphasised the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone. Within the country there are areas with a lack of access to food, water and medicines needed for the health conditions of persons with disabilities. In addition, EDF and NADP are aware that attacks on institutions and human rights abuses of civilians with disabilities continue to occur and shared appalling stories with Commissioner Dalli. 

Yevgeniya Pavlova from the NADP expressed the extremely grave situation “Adults and children with disabilities in Ukraine are in a very grave situation. Unfortunately, evacuation plans are often not designed in an accessible way. People with disabilities need additional and special support and assistance and it should be reflected in all humanitarian actions” 

Knowing the appalling situation, during the meeting EDF and NADP together with the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and Inclusion Europe called jointly upon the European Union to: 

  1. Raise publicly the situation of person with disabilities and make sure the humanitarian response within Ukraine reaches and is inclusive for persons with disabilities; 
  2. Coordinate with Member States to ensure the protection and safety of children and adults with disabilities seeking refuge in the EU; 
  3. Facilitate with Member States, Authorities and NGOs to help Ukrainians with disabilities and their families relocate to inclusive and accessible housing, support and other services in other Member States, particularly for those living in Institutions.   

Together they stated the fundamental importance of paying more attention to persons with disabilities both in the country and those who fled the war.  

It is important to ensure an inclusive humanitarian aid and to carefully manage evacuation of people in institutional care, including children, to ensure that they are protected and safe. People with disabilities arriving in neighbouring countries are also receiving little or no information about access to basic needs as well as integration regarding education, health and social protection. What information there is rarely accessible itself.  

Particular attention must be paid to those who are most at risk, including women, children, blind and deafblind persons, persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, and persons with high support needs.     

EDF together with all partners and donors are coordinating assistance and providing funding support to its members organisations in countries neighbouring Ukraine. 

For more information, contact EDF’s international cooperation team: ukraine@edf-feph.org 

More information

How you can help and latest news on the situation can be found in our dedicated page on the Ukraine war below