An estimated 15 percent of the world’s population, approximately 1 billion people, have some form of disability (involving physical, psychosocial and/or intellectual impairments) a large percentage of which will be living in conflict-affected states.
Conflict not only renders a person disabled directly, e.g. when a landmine blast amputates a leg, it also inflicts indirect harm since persons with disabilities may face physical and/or communication barriers to accessing emergency information and humanitarian assistance, rendering them more vulnerable to harm and potentially exacerbating a pre-existing impairment. Persons with disabilities are also at higher risk of injury or death during periods of armed conflict, either as specific targets or through insufficient support to allow them to flee the violence. Despite the high number of persons with disabilities affected by armed conflict and the particular support that they need, persons with disabilities are too often the forgotten victims of armed conflict.
Building on our publication Disability and Armed Conflict – the first study on this issue released in 2019 – this project carried out by Alice Priddy aimed to ensure better protection of persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict and in its immediate aftermath by:
- Raising awareness about the legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law
- Providing academic and policy communities – states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, armed non-state actors, humanitarian organisations and persons with disabilities – with concrete guidance to apply IHL in a disability-inclusive manner
- Providing guidance to the armed forces on how to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and the training of their militaries
- Contributing to a change in policies in the humanitarian sector to fully respect the rights of persons with disabilities