While the primary mandate of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) is to ensure inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in global processes and international mechanisms, IDA has increasingly recognized its potential role during wide-scale emergencies. Recent emergencies such as the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine and other crisis - such as situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies - have significant and disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities. Furthermore, despite positive developments and admirable efforts, current emergency response mechanisms have yet to be successful in ensuring access to humanitarian assistance, evacuation, and other support for persons with disabilities on equal basis with others.

In response to these challenges and in order to ensure inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and their organizations in emergency response, IDA has established an ad hoc Disability-Inclusive Emergency Response Mechanism (DER Mechanism). The Mechanism may be activated with regard to any wide-scale emergency situation around the world with the participation of IDA members and partners. Upon analyzing each situation, and after close consultation with its relevant regional members, the Mechanism will identify major gaps in inclusion of persons with disabilities in the response, and outline activities to address them subject to availability of resources.

Click here to read Terms of Reference for the Mechanism.

DER Mechanism Activities in Response to War of Russia Against Ukraine

IDA responded immediately to the war of Russia against Ukraine by launching a statement and has been advocating with United Nations relevant bodies as well as governments to ensure safety and protection of persons with disabilities affected by the war. Under the DER Mechanism, and in collaboration with European Disability Forum, IDA organized a private briefing for organizations of persons with disabilities in Ukraine with members of the United Nations Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which led to issuing a statement by the CRPD Committee about the situation and consideration of further steps by the Committee.

The conclusion, based on exchanges with humanitarian actors and IDA members, is that there is currently a considerable gap in conducting independent rights-based research and documentation on violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards happening in Ukraine stemming from Russian aggression. The measures taken to investigate possible instances of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other forms of gross human rights violations in Ukraine do not include persons with disabilities.

In order to fill this gap, IDA is conducting a project to document systematic and widespread violations of human rights, international humanitarian law, and international standards on humanitarian assistance against persons with disabilities affected by the war of Russia against Ukraine. The project is currently at the stage of recruiting the main researcher and preparation phase.

Click here to read the draft concept note of the project.