Global Endorsement of Charter for Persons with Disabilities

A charter to improve living conditions of persons with disabilities in crises has been endorsed at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. 

The endorsement is a significant milestone in advancing rights for persons with disability in Tanzania, greatly complementing long standing efforts by key development partners, including The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and its stakeholders.

“The intersection between humanitarian crises and persons with disabilities is very strong,” Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, told the UN News Centre. 

“Persons with disabilities are always left behind and the humanitarian response is very complicated because there is no planning to address their needs. We see that constantly – in armed conflict situations, and natural disasters,” she said.

The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and funding bodies to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities.

The Charter is based on 5 principles that include, non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities; involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs; ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities. Other principles are: implementation of inclusive global policies; and cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities. 

This resonates the 2013 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which called for a deliberate move to mainstream the inclusion of people with disabilities in policy decisions.

The Charter is seen to be an incentive to improve programs by including people with disabilities into planning processes, and therefore enable decision-makers to address diverse needs, such as those with hearing and visual impairments.

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