During the 27th session, the CRPD Committee held meetings on the situation of persons with disabilities in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine, with OPDs, States Parties concerned and UN agencies. At the closing of the session, the Committee announced the adoption and publication of its Chapter on the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine and in countries where they have fled after 24 February 2022, as a result of the aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

Based on the input from various stakeholders, the report builds upon, the CRPD Committee’s jurisprudence under Article 11 (Situation of risk and humanitarian emergencies) and applies the principles and norms of international humanitarian law to the situation in Ukraine.

The report not only expands the jurisprudence of the CRPD Committee under Article 11 of the CRPD, but it also constitutes a unique piece of work specifying the Committee’s views on State obligations regarding persons with disabilities in the context of armed conflict. This precedent will be highly useful for the development of the upcoming General Comment on Article 11 of the CRPD, announced at the closing session.

While the Committee issued many recommendations to the States Parties concerned, some main elements are highlighted below. The CRPD Committee has requested States Parties and relevant stakeholders to:

  • reform emergency preparedness and response plans and protocols, in consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities, to make them inclusive of, and accessible to, persons with disabilities in their design and implementation;

  • ensure active participation of and coordination and meaningful consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, including organisations of women and children with disabilities;

  • ensure that all emergency-related information is made available in formats accessible to all persons with disabilities regardless of type of impairment, in accordance with the Committee’s General Comment No. 2 (2014); and

  • ensure that international cooperation is inclusive of and accessible to all persons with disabilities and is, in all cases, respectful of the standards set out in the Convention.

More specifically, it called upon Ukraine and the Russian Federation regarding Ukrainian territories under its occupation to “[e]xpedite deinstitutionalization of all persons with disabilities who remain in residential care institutions for persons with disabilities in the territory of Ukraine, and ensure independent monitoring of this process…,” as well as repeal regulations undermining the rights of children with disabilities to access support to live in the community, and invest in wide range of services, and prioritize the evacuation of persons with disabilities “from institutions located in places of armed hostilities”. 

Finally, reiterating the call made in its statement adopted after the 26th session and published on April 14th, 2022, the Committee urged the Russian Federation to immediately cease attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centres, maternity, ambulances and healthcare workers.