Do not neglect people with disabilities in crisis situations
Handicap International (HI), the European Disability Forum (EDF), and CBM International held a round table at the European Parliament on 6 December in order to further Europe's undertakings in relation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Charter on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action.
rehabilitation session in Kenya | © P.Meinhardt / HI
This event provided the opportunity to hear first-hand testimony from Disabled People's Organisations and NGOs on the difficulties people with disabilities experience in accessing humanitarian aid in emergency situations; and to promote the measures that need to be implemented in order to fight discrimination.
"At HI we have some very tangible ways of helping NGOs with issues relating to access to humanitarian aid for people with disabilities. For example, we can train them on how to react to different situations: from how to build wheelchair-accessible bathroom facilities to how to identify people with disabilities, who are often quite simply invisible in crisis situations. However, these questions also need to be asked at a political level: we want to raise the European Union's awareness of this problem so that the inclusion of people with disabilities becomes an integral part of its policies on funding emergency aid," explains Elena Bertozzi, Humanitarian Advocacy Officer at HI.
In May 2016, HI was heavily involved in launching the Charter on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action[V2] . Over 170 States, humanitarian organisations, donors and charitable networks have already joined it[V3] . The Charter calls on all humanitarian aid institutions to modify their practices to better include people with disabilities, involve them in decision-making, and ensure that humanitarian services are genuinely available to all. Today, we hope that still more States and humanitarian organisations will sign the charter and fully implement the principles it enshrines.