Skip Content

Anniversary of UN Charter on inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian action

22 May 2017

A year ago, a ground-breaking Charter to include people with disabilities in humanitarian action was launched by the UN Secretary-General at the World Humanitarian Summit.

The launch of the Charter on the inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian action generated historical momentum to engage all stakeholders in working to include people with disabilities in humanitarian action.

On its first year anniversary, Sense International joins with others to call for continued efforts to make this inclusion real for all persons with disabilities living in context of crisis.

No one left behind?

Often invisible to humanitarian actors, persons with disabilities, representing 1 in 7 people affected by a crisis, are often overlooked in the planning of humanitarian operations.

A study on persons with disabilities in humanitarian contexts showed that:

- 75% of people with disabilities affected by humanitarian crises do not have equal access to basic assistance, including water, food, shelter, and medical care,
- 50% of people with disabilities in crisis situations lack access to specific services, such as provision of assistive devices.

Furthermore, during a crisis, the weakening support networks add to the isolation and the risk of abuse faced by persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls.

In line with the 2030 agenda and the new Sustainable Development Goals, the World Humanitarian Summit represented a critical opportunity to ensure that humanitarian actors address the needs and rights of persons with disabilities, in partnership with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

Making it real

Today, 150 States, UN agencies, international NGOs, and global, regional and national organisations of persons with disabilities have endorsed the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, including Sense International.
The charter revolves around five core principles:

  • Non-discrimination.
  • Equal access to services for everyone.
  • Full participation of persons with disabilities in crisis decision-making.
  • Development of global guidelines and policies.
  • Sharing of expertise and cooperation between all actors.

Signatories to the Charter commit to improve the efficiency of the planning and delivery of humanitarian action based on these principles.

Sense International calls on all States, humanitarian and development actors to endorse the Charter and support its full implementation so that persons with disabilities will in future be at the centre of humanitarian response.

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019