Protection of the rights of the disabled should be part of all humanitarian intervention

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The rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) should be included in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global compact for Migration, the two intergovernmental agreements covering the international response to refugees and migrations, it was suggested at an event held on the margins of the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD (COSP) co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

 One of the main conclusions reached at the side event held in June at the United Nations headquarters in New York was the need for all humanitarian intervention to be based on a human rights approach to disabilities, as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

It was also said that all data should be disaggregated so as to include disability, and that it should be ensured that PWDs participate in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the humanitarian response. Multiple and intersectional discrimination affecting women, children and persons with psycho-social disabilities should be given special attention, and investment should be targeted at local systems, services, government and organisations representing PWDs.

The EESC co-hosted the side event with the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Union, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, CBM, the UN Refugee Agency, Human Rights Watch, Unicef, the International Disability Alliance, Handicap International and Inclusion International.

It was the first time that a delegation from the EESC – which was represented by Irena Petraitienė, Madi Sharma and Ioannis Vardakastanis – had participated in this annual event, which has taken place every year since 2007, providing the State Parties to the Convention with an opportunity to meet and discuss topics related to the Convention's implementation.

In addition to the side event on refugees, Mr Vardakastanis also took part as a speaker in the Civil Society Forum on 12 June 2017 and in the side event Transforming Lives: Accessibility Resources for Human Rights in Action, co-hosted by the European Commission and EDF.

On June 15, Ms Sharma spoke at the side event on Reforming Social Services in Europe to Embrace the Human Rights Approach, co-hosted by the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), the Council of Europe and the European Union.