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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Charities join in call for protections for disabled people in Ukraine

 

The Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) has raised concerns about those currently in the country.

A coalition of campaigners in Scotland have come together to call for the protection of the rights of disabled people as the war in Ukraine rages on. 

The Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) has raised concerns about the conditions facing those currently in the country, calling for support to ensure that disabled people are not abandoned.

The group, whose members include Disability Equality Scotland, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Inclusion Scotland, Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living, People First Scotland and Self-Directed Support Scotland, offered solidarity to the people of Ukraine during this time of crisis. 

Reports suggest there are approximately three million disabled people in Ukraine, with charities highlighting that disabled people are finding it difficult to access a safe means of evacuation and shelter.

In a statement published this week, SILC said: “Disabled people are disproportionately impacted in emergency situations and are more likely to be left behind due to factors such as inaccessible transport and infrastructure. 

“Disabled people can lose access to vital medication, equipment and mobility aids in conflict. There can also be barriers in finding safe places to stay, as some disabled people are unable to reach shelters located in underground metro stations and bunkers. 

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“If information is not provided in accessible formats, then disabled people may have limited awareness of available humanitarian support.”

The coalition also said that all of those involved in the conflict must respect their responsibilities under international humanitarian law and human rights law. 

Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by both Russia and Ukraine and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2475, creates clear obligations that cannot be suspended, even in a state of emergency, to ensure equal protection and safety for all disabled people.

SILC has backed calls from the European Disability Forum, calling for assurances that disabled people in Ukraine will have full access to humanitarian aid, are protected from violence, abuse and ill treatment and get accessible information about safety and assistance protocols, evacuation procedures and support. 

Those in Ukraine must also have full access to basic services including water and sanitation, social support, education, healthcare, transport and information, SILC said, as well as being involved in any disaster planning and humanitarian actions through their representative organisations. 

SILC also urged the public to back the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, led by the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee and for countries to actively welcome those with disabilities as part of the resettlement of refugees from Ukraine. 

 

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