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Children with disabilities disproportionately affected by war in Ukraine |




The terrible tragedy of war highlights historic policy choices made in the past that adversely affect children with disabilities, special rapporteurs said.

Independent experts pointed out that Ukraine faces the daunting task of reinventing many of its social and economic systems when this war finally ends.

Raising the alarm

Experts raised the alarm about inadequate services for children with disabilities and the impact the armed conflict is having on key services, both within Ukraine and in the surrounding region.

Noting that thousands of children with disabilities have been returned to their countries of origin without first determining whether the environments are safe, they warned that this practice could put young people at risk, including cases of abuse and trafficking.

Additionally, mass returns have left many children untreated for physical and mental health conditions.

We fully understand the exigencies of war and the immediacy of the difficult choices that must be made. But this is not a situation that can be allowed indefinitely, they support.

The children who stayed

Citing their relocation from one facility to another, experts noted that children who remained in institutions are experiencing a decline in their health and well-being.

And adding to the already known problems of neglect, abuse, physical limitations and access to basic services, including education and health care, the lack of information on their whereabouts is preventing families from re-establishing contact.

Inter-institutionalization cannot be a strategy for the future, warned the Special Rapporteurs.

Third Party Recipients

Another concern raised by experts is that Ukraine appears to be asking third countries that accept children with disabilities to place them in facilities, even states that have successfully moved away from institutionalization for their citizens.

Third countries have a heavy responsibility to help Ukraine imagine a better future for its citizens with disabilities, including its children, they said.

Building ahead

It is our sincere hope that Ukraine will commit to a better future for people with disabilities — UN Rapporteurs

UN experts expressed hope that when the reconstruction and future development for Ukraine is funded, investments will be made to build community support that will enable children with disabilities to thrive with their families and in situations of similar to family compared to institutions.

It is our sincere hope that Ukraine will commit to a better future for people with disabilities, especially children, experts said.

For our part, we are ready to offer our advice, solidarity and support to Ukraine on this issue.

In closing, the experts strongly reiterated their many previous calls on Russia to immediately end its aggression against Ukraine and pledged to help Ukraine build a better future for its citizens with disabilities .

The experts

Click here for the names of those who participated in the statement.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the UN based in Geneva Human Rights Council to examine and report on a specific human rights topic or situation in the country. The positions are honorary and experts are not paid for their work.




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