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One year ago, a ground-breaking Charter launched at the World Humanitarian Summit

Press release | 18th May 2017 09:00

Jomaa, a 85 year old Syrian refugee, having a rehabilitation session.

© G. Dubourthoumieu / Handicap International

In May 2016, at the World Humanitarian Summit, the Charter on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action was launched. One year on, the charter has 150 signatories, but only 5 are UK mainstream NGOs.

As part of a global week of action in the run up to the 1st Anniversary of the charter, Handicap International has teamed up with CBM to host an event on Thursday 18th May aimed at increasing UK mainstream NGO support for the Charter.

Handicap International, working with governments and other organizations, coordinated the drafting of the Charter. It provides a policy framework and is a basis for practical changes for disability inclusion in humanitarian action. The changes are aimed at ensuring non-discrimination in humanitarian responses with better coordination and implementation of humanitarian activities as well as greater participation of people with disabilities in decisions that affect them. 

Ban Ki-moon described it as “a ground-breaking Charter that places people with disabilities at the heart of humanitarian decision-making”.

People with disabilities need impartial and effective aid during emergencies. The signatories of the Charter commit to improve the efficiency of the planning and delivery of humanitarian action based on five core principles:

  • Non-discrimination.
  • Equal access to services for everyone.
  • Full participation of persons with disabilities in crisis decision-making.
  • Development of global guidelines and policies.
  • Sharing of expertise and cooperation between all actors.

 “Sadly we know from experience that, in a crisis, people with disabilities and injuries struggle to access the support they need and can easily find themselves excluded and forgotten. The Charter brings an end to a great injustice. Handicap International will continue to work tirelessly to ensure this charter is put into practice and that no one is left behind in humanitarian crises” explains Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Handicap International UK.

UK support for the Charter came quickly as Baroness Verma, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, endorsed the Charter at the World Humanitarian Summit last year. DFID’s Secretary of State, Priti Patel, was due to speak at this year’s anniversary event but due to the upcoming Elections had to cancel.

It is essential that the Charter is implemented to generate real change for people with disabilities. To ensure no one is left behind in humanitarian actions, UK organizations, in particular mainstream NGOs, need to take proactive steps to implement the Charter. This anniversary is an occasion to reaffirm our determination to make humanitarian action inclusive of persons with disabilities.

The UK Charter event on 18th May, chaired by Beverley Warmington, Director of DFID CHASE, will be asking UK humanitarian actors at all levels to follow suite and sign up to the Charter and ensure that vulnerable groups, in particular people with disabilities, are not left behind when a humanitarian crisis occurs.

Press contact
Marlene Sigonney, Handicap International UK
media[at] | +44 (0)870 774 3737 | +44 (0)7508 810 520

More information about the charter:

More information about the event:
When: 18th May 2017
Where: University of Westminster
Beverley Warmington, Director of DFID CHASE, will be chairing the session, along with contributions from UN agencies and NGOs who have started to put the Charter’s commitments into practice.

About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

HI-US Media Contact

Mira Adam
Sr. Media Officer
[email protected]
Tel: +1 (202) 855-0301

Elizabeth J. Sellers
e[email protected]
Tel: +1 (270) 847-3443


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