Our New Publication on Disability and Armed Conflict: The Author's Perspective

approximately 1 billion of the world's population is made up of persons with disabilities which include persons with physical psychosocial intellectual as well as sensory impairments and a large number of that population will live in conflict-affected States despite the high number disability remains a forgotten and overlooked issue and is largely considered to be an issue by many states as well as humanitarian organizations this Academy briefing considers the impact of armed conflict on persons with disabilities it looks at the implementation of the CRPD the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities in the conflict setting and it considers a number of IHL norms from a disability inclusive perspective the Academy briefing is the product of three years of research and that research has included field research in conflict-affected States such as the DRC Ukraine and Gaza it has become clear to me in the course of that research that in the implementation of IHL norms and provisions that of course served to try and minimize the impact of armed conflict on the civilian population that persons with disabilities are often excluded and IHL norms are not being applied in an occlusive manner so by way of example if we look at the IHL provision on effective warnings before an attack which serves the purpose of allowing the civilian population to flee for an imminent attack and to seek shelter when we look at how that's being applied it seems to be done in a manner where it's assumed that the civilian population is one homogeneous group who will be able to respond to a warning system and access that warning in the same manner whereas of course we know that that's a fallacy the civilian population will be made up of a range of persons with characteristics which will include disability and such persons will have differing ways of responding to such warnings for example if you're a person with a visual impairment in Gaza and a leaflet drop warning is given before one minute before an Israeli missile strike you will not be able to access that leaflet dropped warning and be able to respond to it in the same manner as somebody who doesn't have a visual impairment or if you are a wheelchair user and you're in your build in your home in your building and a one minute warning is given before a missile strike it's unlikely that one minute warning will give you enough time to be able to seek shelter or evacuate your building because you are a wheelchair user it's in the provision of these IHL norms that we're seeing there's an assumption that the civilian population does not include persons with disabilities and that is not the case we know that at least 15% of every population has some form of disability and this briefing is focused on ensuring and trying to analyze IHL norms from a disability inclusive manner and makes a number of recommendations to state some non-state actors and humanitarian organizations as well as to how we can ensure that IHL is applied in an inclusive manner we hope that this briefing will galvanize attention to this much overlooked issue and we hope that it will facilitate further discussion and research on this topic

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