New charter for persons with disabilities at WHS
A new charter to significantly improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies has been endorsed at the Special Session on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities into Humanitarian Action of the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 24 May, 2016.
“The intersection between humanitarian crises and persons with disabilities is very strong,” said Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Persons with disabilities are always left behind and the humanitarian response is very complicated because there is no planning to address their needs. We see that constantly – in armed conflict situations, and natural disasters.”
The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and funding bodies to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities, based on five principals:
- non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities;
- involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs;
- ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities;
- implementation of inclusive global policies; and
- cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve inclusion of people with disabilities.
David Nabarro, UN Special Advisor on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noted that the endorsement of the charter shows there is “real commitment” to working to ensure that people with disabilities are much closer to the center of humanitarian action. This message was echoed by Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, where many people have been injured due to conflict.
Colin Allen, who will be the next chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), highlighted that the charter will help address the specific needs of many people, such as those who are deaf, blind, or both. “My role [at the session] was to make sure humanitarian actors have systems in place that are accessible, so that in the event of any natural disaster or crisis, they are able to facilitate access for people with disabilities,” he said, stressing the need to be prepared well in advance for this kind of assistance, such as having people who know sign language.
(Source from the UN News Centre)