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UN Security Council calls for protection of persons with disabilities in conflict zones

Voting unanimously, the Council called on all parties to armed conflict to allow and facilitate safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance. 

It further urged them to prevent violence and abuses against civilians in situations of armed conflict, including those involving in killing and maiming, abduction and torture, as well as rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Council action follows the follows moving testimony late April from Nujeen Mustafa, a young Syrian with cerebral palsy, who told the 15-member body “you can and should do more, to ensure that people with disabilities are included in all aspects of your work – we can’t wait any longer.”

Encouraging Member States to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy equal access to basic services, including education, health care, transportation and information and communications technology (ICT) and systems, the Council further urged States to enable the meaningful participation and representation of persons with disabilities, including their representative organizations, in humanitarian action and in conflict prevention, resolution, reconciliation, reconstruction and peacebuilding.

The Council emphasized the need for States to end impunity for criminal acts against civilians, including those with disabilities, and to ensure they have access to justice and effective remedies, and as appropriate, reparation.  It called upon all parties to armed conflict to allow and facilitate safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access.

Further by the resolution, the Council urged Member States to take steps to eliminate discrimination and marginalization on the basis of disability in situations of armed conflict.  It also urged States parties to comply with their obligations under the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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