We Should Have a Say in Our Fate
When natural disasters hit, people with disabilities are often disregarded. This is why the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council announced a resolution that tackles the rights of people with disabilities in connection with climate change.
The resolution calls for world leaders to listen to people with disabilities and adopt a “comprehensive, integrated, gender-responsive and disability-inclusive approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation policies.”
Approximately 72% of people with disabilities have admitted to having zero preparedness plan for when natural disasters are about to hit, and 80% of people with disabilities would not be able to evacuate immediately without difficulty due to the disaster and the conditions.
In the same survey, the United Nation laid out some suggestions to implement to ensure the safety of people with disabilities in times of natural disasters. Most importantly, people with disabilities need to be advised and a major decision-maker in all phases of the process.
The intent is to bulk up research efforts related to this issue and develop a data collection system on persons with disabilities relevant to conflicts and disasters.
The UN also urges the government to ensure that all recovery efforts are inclusive to people with disabilities. They also stress the importance of preventing people with disabilities from being victims of acts of violence, abuse, and exploitation, which are at height end risk during the aftermath of disasters.
“The needs of persons with disabilities are often overlooked in the early phase of response to humanitarian emergencies and difficulties are often faced in accessing services and assistance, including rehabilitation and assistive products which are critical for recovery,” according to the UN.
This resolution piggybacks an earlier effort to incorporate women in the decision making process with regards to natural disasters and closing the gap between people with disabilities and the conversation around climate resilience.