Crippen hears from the Ukraine’s National Assembly of disabled people

As promised, here is a follow-up to the blog I recently posted about the plight of disabled people living in Ukraine. The European Disability Forum and the International Disability Alliance have managed to establish contact with the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine who represent the 2.7 million disabled people living in Ukraine. As you can imagine the situation is pretty dire.

The European Disability Forum (EDF) report that:

There are almost three million disabled people registered in Ukraine who are now living in appalling conditions due to the invasion by Russia. Bomb shelters in Kiev are inaccessible, so disabled people are forced to stay at home, not knowing where they can go to be safe. Those [disabled people] living in institutions already cut off from their communities, risk being abandoned and forgotten.

The National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine on behalf of more than 100 organisations in the country has reached out to appeal to all organisations of disabled people to support humanitarian aid and join efforts to end the war.  A shortened version of their appeal reads:

Appeal to International Organisations of Disabled People 

Today we are seeing children and women dying in Ukraine; the Russian army is killing our sons, daughters, husbands, and wives; they are destroying our cities … carrying out hostilities … using methods of warfare … [which are] in violation of all the principles of international humanitarian law.

Every day Russian troops are deliberately firing at residential districts in our cities; women and children have to spend several days in a row in air-raid shelters; the captured cities and towns are struggling due to the lack of water, food and medicines. The invaders prevent civilians, including disabled people, from leaving their towns and cities, and use them as human shields: they place military vehicles and equipment next to civilian buildings and people’s’ houses. 

Over many years disabled people from different countries have stood together to fight for their rights. Disabled people’s organisations have huge experience in upholding those rights. Today in Ukraine, people with disabilities and disabled people’s organisations are helping our State and are standing shoulder to shoulder with our defenders … Yesterday we received information that a wheelchair user who is a son, father and husband, was killed near Kiev when defending his family and his home.

We call upon you, representatives of disabled people’s organisations in different countries, to support us in our fight for peace. We want peace!

We are asking you to be our voice in your countries … Support us, spread the truth in your countries, urge your governments to … help to defend peace in our country. 

National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine (NAPDU)

Kyiv, March 1, 2022 

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

An electric wheelchair user is sat alone in a war torn landscape. In front of him is an open hatchway with a ladder leading down into its depths. A sign reading ‘bomb shelter’ is printed on the inside of the hatchway lid with a large white arrow pointing down. He is looking perplexed.

© 2022. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence –  CC BY-NC-ND

One response to this post.

  1. Thank you for bringing attention to this. We just got our Ukraine flag in the mail the other day and are flying it. I saw a photograph of an older woman being carried in a wheelchair across some rubble by soldiers. Words fail.

    Reply

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