Children with disabilities must not be forgotten in the middle of the war. Humanitarian aid organisations must pay attention to the special needs of the most vulnerable when planning and implementing relief operations, Pauliina Lampinen, the Executive Director of Vamlas Foundation, urges.
Throughout the history of different conflicts around the world, we have learned how children and especially children with disabilities are too often forgotten. This has been the case also during the Covid-19 pandemic; too many children with disabilities have been left out from schools and education, some even proper care.
In June 2021 The Human Rights Watch urged all States and humanitarian aid organizations to follow the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC) “Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action”.
Today, with the horrific war in Ukraine, the need to protect those in most vulnerable situations is even more important. According to Unicef in 2015, ’out of some 8 million children living in Ukraine, 167,000 are registered with disabilities. More than 70,000 of these children live in institutions.’
Let us remember now, in aid organisations as well as in all States, to pay attention to the special needs of children with disabilities when we plan and implement rescue and help operations. There are many organisations like us that can help with communication, accessibility, assistive devices, education and basic care etc.
Let us be wise and gather all the information and expertise needed to include the needs of children with disabilities in our actions.
Let us not forget, but help.
Pauliina Lampinen, Executive Director, Vamlas Foundation