People with disabilities are often in greater need of humanitarian assistance, but are less likely to receive it.
Islamic Relief protection and inclusion advisor Sherin AlShaikhAhmed examines what Islamic Relief is doing to make sure our humanitarian action serves everyone in need.
Last year alone Islamic Relief delivered over 150 emergency projects, providing lifesaving aid to millions of people in 31 countries. So we know all too well that people with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by humanitarian crises.
As well as facing barriers preventing their full participation in their communities, they may be unable to access humanitarian assistance on an equal basis. Factors preventing their access include stigma and discrimination, negative attitudes and behaviours, and a one-size fits all approach to assistance.
People with disabilities represent an estimated 15% of the world’s population – this figure is often higher among populations affected by conflict. In Syria, for example, a recent survey found that 27% of people aged 12-years and over have a disability and, in some governorates, most households have at least one member with a disability.
It is clear then that humanitarian interventions may be missing many of those most in need of aid. And it’s critical that disability inclusion underpins humanitarian action, so Islamic Relief has welcomed key steps towards this in recent years.
We have backed the World Humanitarian Summit commitments to ‘leave no one behind’ and the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which led to the IASC guidelines on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action – which we translated into Arabic in order to broaden their impact.
Another crucial step toward disability inclusion was the Global Disability Summit, which calls on humanitarian actors and other stakeholders to ensure people with disabilities are not left behind.
But more is needed.