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Our latest advocacy publications

Humanity & Inclusion – Handicap International presses for crucial policy changes in policy areas relevant to its specific expertise. You can find more information on the page “Fighting for global policy change”. On this page below, you will find information on our latest evidence-based publications.

Elderly couple in Zhytomyr: A Russian rocket demolished civilian building close to a military campound. Nearby is also a hospital. ©Till Mayer / HI Elderly couple in Zhytomyr: A Russian rocket demolished civilian building close to a military campound. Nearby is also a hospital. ©Till Mayer / HI Elderly couple in Zhytomyr: A Russian rocket demolished civilian building close to a military campound. Nearby is also a hospital. ©Till Mayer / HI Elderly couple in Zhytomyr: A Russian rocket demolished civilian building close to a military campound. Nearby is also a hospital. ©Till Mayer / HI

Elderly couple in Zhytomyr: A Russian rocket demolished civilian building close to a military campound. Nearby is also a hospital. ©Till Mayer / HI

Factsheet: Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night

 

A focus on persons with disabilities and provision of emergency health services

In October 2022, HI releases a new factsheet based on observations from HI’s field teams and data reviews. It reveals that the conflict in Ukraine has created massive humanitarian needs and persons with disabilities face increased challenges to access equal and dignified humanitarian assistance.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 25% of internal displaced families in Ukraine include at least one family member with a disability.

This factsheet aims at highlighting the huge needs that the civilian population is facing in this armed conflict context, with a specific focus on persons with disabilities, as well as the provision of emergency rehabilitation and mental health & psychosocial support services for the Ukrainian population.

 

The devastating impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

Bombing and shelling are massive and systematic. Explosive violence causes complex injuries that can lead to amputation or permanent disability requiring long-term rehabilitation care. It is crucial to develop services adapted to respond to the needs of persons injured and persons with disabilities.

Since the start of the conflict, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded:

  • 13,917 civilian casualties in Ukraine,
  • 5,718 persons killed,
  • 8,199 persons injured.

Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas (EWIPA), including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes.

Key facts

95 %

of casualties were civilians when explosive weapons have been used in populated areas in Ukraine [i]

72 HEURES

notre temps de réponse
opérationnelle

7 million

people have been internally displaced by the crisis [ii]

25 %

of internal displaced families in Ukraine include at least one family member with a disability [iii]

17.7 million

people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine [iv]

Galaina, 87 years old, crosses the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Medyka crossing. Galaina, 87 years old, crosses the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Medyka crossing. Galaina, 87 years old, crosses the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Medyka crossing. Galaina, 87 years old, crosses the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Medyka crossing.
 

Caglar Tahiroglu, HI MHPSS specialist in Ukraine

 

“In situations of war there are huge changes which can have a significant impact on older people. They are exposed to highly distressing events, often when they had to be urgently evacuated from their homes. In cases of people with limited mobility, they are sometimes carried in blankets to evacuate because they cannot walk on their own.

When we go to geriatric collective centers, we see some people in their beds, crying due to the high levels of distress. What they really need is human connection. They have lost all their community support, which is one of the biggest risk factors of displacement."

 

Picture: Galaina, 87 years old, crosses the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Medyka crossing. ©Tom Nicholson / HI

 
 

An urgent need of humanitarian assistance and health assistance

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 17.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.

A staggering 14.5 million are in need of health services, and 14.6 million of comprehensive humanitarian mine action services, which include victim assistance, explosive ordnance risk education and land release.[i]

Access to essential services is complicated in such context. Humanitarian workers are struggling to reach areas affected by ongoing hostilities and non-government-controlled areas. Contamination by explosive ordnance, damages to infrastructures, including railways,[ii] and disruption to telecommunication are also having an impact on humanitarian access.

Persons with disabilities are not being accounted for, having huge difficulties to flee or to be evacuated. Many persons with disabilities do not have access to the humanitarian aid they need.

The factsheet states that due to lack of evacuation support, persons with disabilities who are unable to move are being left behind. Indeed, many persons with disabilities have no access to information on how to evacuate and face barriers in an inaccessible environment:

  • During the first months of the conflict, there were reports of people in wheelchairs being unable to board buses to evacuate cities under attack.
 
  • Most of the bomb shelters are not accessible to people who use wheelchairs or have restricted mobility.

Consequently, persons with disabilities are left behind and exposed to explosive weapon attacks. Humanitarian actors need to always ensure inclusive practices and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations throughout the project cycle.

 

HI calls on States and humanitarian actors to:

Protect civilians

The Geneva Conventions (1949) and their Additional Protocols (1977) explicitly state that all civilians must be protected, and recognize that protection is due to persons with disabilities during armed conflict.

Advocate for an immediate cessation of hostilities

An immediate cessation of hostilities is the only way to ensure civilians’ protection. Parties to the conflict should take all feasible measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures.

Call on parties to the conflict to allow access

Safe, unimpeded access to humanitarian actors in all areas, and humanitarian operations must be immediate and sustained. Humanitarian action must be protected and respected, in line with IHL and the humanitarian principles.

Pay particular attention to those who are most at risk

Those who are most at risk from threats to their safety and rights violations, including women, children, older people, and persons with disabilities in all their diversity must be meaningfully included in the humanitarian response.

Support the Ukrainian healthcare system

States and humanitarian actors should support the Ukrainian healthcare system in providing early rehabilitation and mental health and psychosocial support to all those in need, including persons with disabilities.

[i] AOAV, 2022. [ii] and [iii] Ukraine Internal displacement report: General population survey – Round 8, August 2022. [iv] OCHA, Ukraine flash appeal, March – December 2022. [v] UKRINFORM, Russian troops damage 23000km of roads over 40 railway bridges in Ukraine, May 2022.

 
Cover of the publication Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night Cover of the publication Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night Cover of the publication Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night Cover of the publication Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night
 

Our previous publications
 

See below other recent reports, factsheets or briefing papers. All advocacy publications can be found on the Publication Page.

 
Cover of the factsheet Cover of the factsheet Cover of the factsheet Cover of the factsheet

The real lives behind the data

Children with disabilities in education across Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory.

In English only, 2022

 
Cover of the Factsheet Cover of the Factsheet Cover of the Factsheet Cover of the Factsheet

Unshielded, Unseen

The Implementation of UNSC Resolution 2475 on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict in Yemen.

In English only, 2022.