The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Calls for the Support, Protection and Safety of Ukrainians with Disabilities

March 17, 2022


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While millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes due to the current armed conflict, people with disabilities are suffering disproportionate harm. Many, especially those with complex support needs, medical conditions, or living in institutional settings, are unable to safely evacuate.

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the disabled “experience extreme conditions in armed conflicts. They are unable to escape war or find adequate shelter, they face higher death rates and are systematically exposed to discrimination, abuse and violence.” According to the European Disability Forum, there are 2.7 million people with disabilities in Ukraine. They also face significant accessibility barriers to access safety measures and humanitarian assistance and have been cut off from disability-related support and services.

The needs of Ukrainians with disabilities must not be ignored. Ukraine ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010. CRPD Article 11 specifically addresses situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies and the protection obligations that exist in the context of armed conflict. UN Security Council Resolution 2475, unanimously adopted in 2019, also calls upon member states to “protect persons with disabilities in conflict situations and to ensure they have access to justice, basic services and unimpeded humanitarian assistance.” These international humanitarian and human rights laws must be respected.

AUCD strongly supports humanitarian efforts focused on the needs of people with disabilities and their families in Ukraine. We encourage those interested in donating to research organizations with the infrastructure, relationships, and integrity to effectively perform this work, including:

The United Nations is maintaining a regularly updated list of resources on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflict.