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Gender and Social Inclusion

High-Level Meeting Shines Spotlight on Disability and Development

On September 23, UN entities, Member States and civil society organizations from around the world will come together in New York for a High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development during this year’s opening of the UN General Assembly. The objective of the meeting is to discuss how concerned actors can ensure that the post-2015 process and all other development processes are disability-inclusive. The post-2015 process is all the work currently being undertaken through consultations, reports, events, discussions, etc., to identify what development goals should be put in place in 2015, when the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire.

The Women's Refugee Commission has been active in preparations for this event, and looks forward to participating on the day.

While the WRC was pleased to see that the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development’s outcome document calls on the UN, Member States and humanitarian actors to enhance the inclusion of and focus on the needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian programming and response, it urges the humanitarian community to use this as an opportunity to consider the specific needs and rights of refugees and displaced women, girls, boys and men with disabilities in future discussions and ensure their concerns are reflected in the post-2015 framework.

Below is the WRC’s statement released on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development.

The Women’s Refugee Commission is pleased to take part in the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD). We commend the UN, Member States and civil society groups for coming together and organizing this important event around the theme “The way forward, a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.” WRC looks forward to this unique opportunity to engage in discussions, information sharing and the identification of new ways to ensure that disability concerns are embedded in the post-2015 agenda.

WRC is dedicated to enhancing the lives of women, children and youth with disabilities who are displaced by conflict and crisis. This year, we have been on the ground with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supporting disability inclusion in the humanitarian response for Syrian refugees in Lebanon by consulting with refugees with disabilities and their families, and conducting training for humanitarian actors and service providers. Displaced and refugee women and girls with disabilities are at risk of being targeted for gender-based violence—a major human rights violation, which affects women and girls’ ability to participate in economic, social and political development. We are also working with the International Rescue Committee in Burundi, Ethiopia, Jordan and the North Caucasus to ensure that gender-based violence response and prevention activities are appropriate and inclusive of persons with disabilities.

WRC is extremely pleased to see that the HLMDD outcome document references the necessity of disability-inclusive humanitarian programming and response, the rights and needs of women and children with disabilities, and their inclusion in disaster risk reduction. It is urgent that we take a gender-sensitive, disability-inclusive approach to response and programming in all humanitarian settings in order to reduce inequality and achieve equitable development globally. WRC hopes that future conversations leading up to the development of the new post-2015 goals and indicators build on this good start—but also contain concrete references to refugees and internally displaced persons. Persons with disabilities who are forcibly displaced are among the most marginalized. We share the view expressed by many nongovernmental organizations and displaced persons organizations at the Sixth Annual Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that we must take a rights-based and participatory approach to ensuring the specific needs of persons with disabilities are addressed in the post-2015 framework—and WRC strongly advocates that this includes refugees and displaced persons. This approach is essential in order to fulfill the vision of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons vision that in the post-2015 framework no one is left behind.

While we have made great strides as a community, further progress is needed—and will only be achieved if the UN, Member States and civil society work as one. We look forward to a post-2015 framework that contains goals and indicators that guarantee progress for all women, girls, boys and men—including those who are crisis-affected.


Gender and Social Inclusion