New Charter for Persons with Disabilities at WHS

Photo of a panel of people and observers at the United Nations
Special Session on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities into Humanitarian Action

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 (WHS) 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 final version 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.

Guidelines Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, July 2019 (.pdf) by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 made a commitment to develop globally endorsed system-wide guidelines on how to include persons with disabilities in humanitarian action (the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, mentioned above). These guidelines have been designed to provide practical information for humanitarian actors and other relevant stakeholders. They place persons with disabilities, and their human rights, at the centre of humanitarian action.