Workshop: Protection of persons with disabilities throughout armed conflict

Workshop: Protection of persons with disabilities throughout armed conflict

On the 3 and 4 of October, the University of Lund and Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Sweden) held an international conference on The Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflicts.

The aim of the workshop was to explore the fit between International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and its relevance to NATO Operations, it part-funded under the Science for Peace and Security Programme of NATO, 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. EDF co-organised it alongside USICD (United States International Council on Disabilities) and LUMOS (Protecting Children. Providing Solutions).

The workshop offered a unique opportunity to reflect on a future agenda for the protection of civilians with disabilities during armed conflicts. Although general civilian protection obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) extend to persons with disabilities, this has been a generally neglected field.

We were represented by our board members Luisella Bosisio Fazzi, and Giampiero Griffo, who was invited to present some experiences on protection and inclusion of persons with disabilities in emergency response situations. The UN CRPD has addressed “Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies” in its article 11, from a humanitarian perspective to a human right approach. In this context, persons with disabilities and in particular their representative organisations (DPOs) become active participants and no longer object of interventions. All international UN agreements in this field (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, The Global Compact on Refugees, the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action) stress the involvement of DPOs in all activities related to the management of emergency situations.

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