- February 19, 2021

This blog is co-authored by CBM Ireland and the International Disability Alliance

On February 17th 2021, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs hosts its annual Civil Society Forum -  Protecting human rights in conflict and the role of the UN Security Council. This year, the Civil Society Forum provides an opportunity for NGOs to dialogue with Irish officials on the contributions the Irish Government can make during its Security Council tenure to shape a better world, one that respects human rights, upholds the dignity and safety of all people and promotes a just world including persons with disabilities.

CBM Ireland and our partner the International Disability Alliance (IDA)- an international organisation of persons with disabilities are looking forward to following the discussions this week, in particular, to hear more about how the Irish government will ensure the effective implementation of Resolution 2475. This joint blog includes some steps the Irish Government can take to strengthen the effective implementation of Resolution 2475.

June 2021 will mark two years since the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2475 by the Security Council protecting persons with disabilities in armed conflict and ensuring equal access to humanitarian assistance. Building on pre-existing protections under international humanitarian law and fundamental rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, its adoption was a result of effective advocacy by the international disability rights movement and its INGO allies. It was also due to political will of the Member States of the Security Council recognising that persons with disabilities have been largely left out of humanitarian responses and not considered during times of conflict, despite being at an increased risk of the impact of violence, abuse and loss of life.

Persons with disabilities make up 15 per cent of the world’s population and while exact data on the impact of conflict is not systematically collected, approximately 9.7 million persons with disabilities are forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution, and many are often victims of human rights violations and conflict-related violence.[1] Bringing awareness to this through the process of developing and adopting the resolution was critical as the rights of persons with disabilities living with or affected by the conflict had never substantially featured on the Security Council agenda.

Resolution 2475 adoption puts the rights of persons with disabilities front and centre in situations of conflict and also addresses humanitarian assistance and the post-conflict phase including peacebuilding. Echoing the CRPD, the resolution recognises that persons with disabilities are best placed on advice on how the Member States and civil society actors engaged in humanitarian response and those involved with post-conflict and peacebuilding can become more inclusive of persons with disabilities.  Among the actions, it asks the Member States to undertake is the call to actively engage and consult with organisations of persons with disabilities including through capacity building. It also calls for action on accessible information and data collection.

In terms of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, it asks that Member States play a central role in increasing knowledge of the rights and specific needs of persons with disabilities across United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding.[2] It also requests the Secretary-General to include, where pertinent, information and related recommendations on issues of relevance to persons with disabilities, in the context of armed conflict, in thematic and geographic reports and regular briefings to the Council. Having such reports coming from the UN is critical to generating the evidence required by the Member States and civil society actors to strengthen their efforts on including persons with disabilities in humanitarian responses and during post-conflict work also. Persons with disabilities can play effective roles in peace-making, similar to how women have.

Ireland is recognised as a country that brings the lived experience of dealing with conflict and engaging with sustainable peacebuilding. Having this lived experience brings with its empathy and understanding and also the recognition of how important it is to listen to the voices of all communities. CBM Ireland and the IDA encourage the Irish government during its tenure on the Security Council to undertake the following four key actions which can strengthen the effective implementation of 2475.

  • Ensure that Security Council resolutions include a reference to 2475 where appropriate.
  • Give space on the agenda where persons with disabilities who have experienced situations of conflict can brief the Council about the situation and the measures required to ensure inclusion and equal protection;  
  • Request a report by the UN SG of the progress made on the implementation of 2475 by the Member States, this would provide an impetus for data collection and evidence gathering of the impact of conflict on persons with disabilities and in particular the barriers faced in accessing humanitarian assistance on an equal basis with others;
  • Advocate with UN department on peacekeeping to ensure capacity-building of the peacekeepers on disability inclusion
>>Read more about Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict here.

[2] See Resolution 2475 para 1 – 11 for actions

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