UN disabilities expert urges more inclusive approach across ‘peace continuum’

OHCHR

The scourge of armed conflict disproportionally affects people with disabilities, a UN human rights expert said today, calling on States to ensure that people with disabilities are fully included in a range of strategies and processes through all the dimensions of conflict.

In a report to the General Assembly (also available in Easy-to-Read format), the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gerard Quinn, said that the visibility and inclusion of people with disabilities across the ‘peace continuum’ was uneven, particularly with respect to conflict prevention, peace-building and reconciliation. 

“Some progress has been made towards inclusive humanitarian action in the past couple of years, but much still needs to be done,” he said. 

“It is incumbent upon States to ensure disability inclusion throughout the entire peace continuum. There is a need to undertake deliberate conversations on how to achieve disability inclusion and to develop concrete recommendations for effective action. 

“However, in certain laws and policy areas, such as international criminal law for example, there is almost no visibility or attention given to people with disabilities, and this contributes to continued impunity for crimes against them,” he said.

Quinn reminded the international community that Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities dealing with situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies establishes a strong bridge to connect disability rights with all points along the ‘peace continuum.’   

His report builds on the historic UN Security Council Resolution 2475 (2019) which recognizes that full adherence to international humanitarian law includes respecting the rights and specific needs of people with disabilities. 

“Together with the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy, it explicitly requires to recognize, include and protect the rights of people with disabilities throughout the peace continuum,” he added. “It is time to take this seriously.”

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