Addressing the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian actions A European perspective
On the 6th December EUD’s staff and board members participated at the event organised by the European Disability Forum (EDF), CBM International and Handicap International. The objective of the event was to follow-up the activities undertaken at national, regional and international level and to discuss the way forward at political and operational level on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action. Roundtable discussion focused on the commitments to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The event was organised in the context of the European Disability and Development Week.
During the discussion it was emphasised that persons with disabilities are among the most marginalised in any crisis-affected community. The panel, which consisted of representatives from the European Disability Forum (EDF), Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Refugee Council highlighted that the European Union is taking steps to ensure that EU-funded humanitarian assistance reaches people with disabilities. It was emphasised that such steps are needed since people with disabilities in humanitarian crises face massive problems in getting even basic services such as food, water, sanitation, shelter, education, and safety protection. Even though people with disabilities are among the most at-risk groups in humanitarian situations, they are also among the most overlooked, due to the lack of effort and resources to make humanitarian actions inclusive.
The EU has a responsibility to include people with disabilities in the humanitarian actions it funds, due to its commitment under article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), ratified by the EU. Article 11 UN CRPD requires the EU to ensure the protection and safety of people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies without discrimination. Moreover, the EU has endorsed the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action and committed to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities in aid programming and policy, and to ensure that people with disabilities have access to aid and services during humanitarian emergencies.
EUD highlighted that during humanitarian emergencies, different needs of people with disabilities have to be taken into account. For deaf people accessibility to sign language interpretation is particularly important. EUD will follow up on further steps taken by the EU to make the humanitarian aid inclusive.