In 2007, the UN Secretary-General's Policy Committee defined peacebuilding as follows: "Peacebuilding involves a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and tailored to specific needs of the country concerned, based on national ownership, and should comprise a carefully prioritized, sequenced, and therefore relatively narrow set of activities aimed at achieving the above objectives."
According to the Center for Disability Studies (2010), approximately 16% of all disabilities are war and conflict related. Many wars are low intensity conflicts which serve to disable people rather than to kill them. Not only is war responsible for death and disability, it also causes extreme mental and emotional harm to individuals, their families and the community at large.
Based on a related research literature review and 18 years of cross-listed academic courses from major universities, there is a general consensus across the board that very little literature has been written that addresses persons with disabilities and peacebuilding. Only a single case study conducted by Pearl Praise Gottschalk (2007) examined the experiences of persons disabled by war in the peace process in Sierra Leone. The participants in the study included all disabled individuals, pre- and post-conflict.
How and why do people with disabilities (PWD) should be included in the conflict resolution and peace process are questions raised by all concerned thought leaders and organizations that, up until now, has not been definitively explored.
About This Brief
The co-authors of this paper are Anita Aaron, Executive Director, World Institute on Disability (WID), and USIP's staff Danielle Lane and Ariana Barth. The information draws from literature research conducted by USIP and WID as well as discussions with subject matter experts in the international disability community and interviews with USIP's staff who have practical field experience working in post-conflict countries.