The impacts of natural disasters and complex emergencies are disproportionally felt by people with disabilities, who are among “the most socially excluded groups in any displaced or conflictaffected community”. Women and adolescent girls with disabilities “are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and violence, including gender-based violence (GBV)” and often face difficulties in “accessing support and services that could reduce risk and vulnerabilities”. Exclusion from social networks, discrimination and stigma often increase vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation.
Women and girls with these underlying risks and vulnerabilities often suffer from a greater impact of COVID-19. In the recent Policy Brief on ‘A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID 19’ the United Nations highlighted that people with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus and developing more severe health conditions. Due to exclusion and discrimination, they are facing difficulties in accessing health care and life-saving procedures during the pandemic, and they are particularly disadvantaged by the socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19.
In July 2019, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee published Guidelines on the ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action’ which set out essential actions that humanitarian actors must take in order to effectively identify and respond to the needs and rights of people with disabilities. The humanitarian guidelines are the first to be developed with and by people with disabilities and their representative organizations in association with traditional humanitarian stakeholders.
In line with the objectives of the Guidelines, this brochure aims to provide practical guidance on including people with disabilities and their families in humanitarian programming and coordination by highlighting four case studies that illustrate good practices and examples in humanitarian settings in Asia and the Pacific.