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Our new Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict provides guidance to the armed forces on how to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and the training of their militaries.
‘Today, most publicly available military manuals do not integrate a disability perspective. Ensuring that they do so is a first and essential step to introduce militaries to the topic and ultimately ensure that armed forces do protect and assist persons with disabilities during armed conflicts’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
‘We are confident that this will help military legal advisers, military personnel in charge of developing training manuals and training modules for the armed forces, as well as those in charge of designing and conducting operations on the ground to integrate this much-needed and mandatory disability perspective’ she adds.
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As shown by our larger academic research, key international humanitarian law (IHL) provisions that serve to minimize the impact of armed conflict – such as the proportionality assessment and advanced effective warnings – are not being applied in a disability-inclusive manner, resulting in persons with disabilities being killed, seriously injured or left behind as families flee armed attacks.
This Military Briefing introduces militaries to this topic by exploring the meaning of disability and the incorrect understandings that must be avoided. It provides a brief overview of the impact of armed conflict on persons with disabilities before moving to the protections afforded to persons with disabilities under IHL.
‘In doing so, we notably focused on effective advance warnings and the treatment of detainees with disabilities to demonstrate what is at stake when militaries do not take a disability-inclusive approach, and how equality in the application of IHL can be achieved’ underlines Professor Gaggioli
The paper offers a number of concrete recommendations on specific areas, showing the possibility to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and military operations.
For example, it details the meaning of ‘accessible warnings’ to persons in the vicinity of armed attacks, and sets our feasible measures regarding the treatment of prisoners of war with disability, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This Military Briefing was discussed at an online expert seminar co-organized with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Diakonia in March 2021. Insights, in particular from military stakeholders, provided avenues to continue this practice-oriented work via outreach events and targeted discussions with military legal advisers.
Annabel Bassil currently works as a Junior Legal Advisor at Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre. In this interview, she tells about the programme and what it brought to her career.
Stephen Hare won the Gilbert-Apollis Prize at the 36th Edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition that took place in early December in Albania.
In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of implementation, including national legislation, dissemination and training, and discuss the mechanisms such as the International Fact-Finding Commission, as set out in the treaties.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.