The Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflicts

The Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflicts

Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University,,

This two-day Workshop, supported under the Science for Peace and Security Programme of NATO (SPS), and co-facilitated by Professor Gerard Quinn, Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) & Janet E. Lord of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, offers a unique opportunity to reflect on a future agenda for the protection of civilians with disabilities during armed conflicts.

Persons with disabilities experience unique vulnerabilities during conflicts and are often left behind without services and supports needed to survive or placed in extreme risk during flight. The issue is sadly topical. As recently as May 2019 the UN Secretary General’s 2019 report on the protection of civilians during armed conflicts specifically mentions the heightened risks of civilians with disabilities (S/2019/373 at para 49). The Secretary General calls for a ‘more comprehensive thematic approach’ to ensure more effective protection for civilians with disabilities.

The Workshop will bring together civil society groups, experts on international humanitarian law and experts on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities. It should interest those working on civilian protection and disability in times of conflict and in the context of humanitarian action. Importantly, the Workshop also takes note of latest developments, including the clear signal by the UN Security Council of the salience of disability in the context of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). In this regard, the UN Security Council adopted in June 2019, Resolution 2475 (2019). This first-ever resolution of its kind calls 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.

In this vein, at the Workshop, there will be panels on the lived experience of persons with disabilities during armed conflict, the general risks to persons with disabilities, specific risks arising out of specific impairments (e.g., civilians with impaired vision), and circumstances (e.g., children and adults living in institutions) emerging good practices and how to inform the further development of IHL in very practical ways.

There is limited space beyond invited speakers, so please contact if you are interested in attending as soon as possible. A full programme will be circulated in the coming weeks.