IHL and Persons with Disabilities

12 July 2017

International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that, in times of armed conflict, seeks – for humanitarian reasons – to protect persons who are not, or are no longer directly participating in hostilities, and to restrict means and methods of warfare. IHL requires parties to armed conflicts to afford special respect and protection to persons with disabilities and helps ensure their inclusion. A number of weapons-related treaties aims to prevent certain disabilities from occurring by prohibiting the use of particular weapons and reducing the dangers they pose. They also seek to ensure that victims receive appropriate assistance.
In addition to IHL, international human rights law (IHRL) – particularly the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol – contains important protections. For example, the CRPD recognizes States Parties' obligations under, inter alia, IHL and IHRL and obliges States Parties to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities during armed conflict (Art. 11).

Subscribe to the ICRC newsletter