Despite being an estimated 15 percent of the world’s population, people with disabilities are not routinely included in peacebuilding, which would benefit from their expertise and perspectives. Although efforts to include marginalized populations can help, the current deficits are too great to be remedied through general approaches. This report covers the state of the field, identifies gaps and opportunities, and makes recommendations for the inclusion and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in peacebuilding. 

Summary

  • Legal and policy frameworks developed over the past fifteen years have advanced disability rights worldwide, but the peacebuilding field has not prioritized the inclusion of people with disabilities. As a result, most are routinely excluded from peacebuilding. 
  • When people with disabilities are included in peacebuilding, the approach is uneven, with some groups prioritized over others. 
  • Other major gaps in disability-inclusive peacebuilding are the lack of disability-disaggregated data on peacebuilding programs and the failure of peacebuilding organizations and governments to prioritize hiring people with disabilities among their own staff. 
  • Disability rights has proved to be an issue that can unify groups across conflict lines. The peacebuilding field would benefit from greater attention to the potential of this issue to catalyze peacebuilding and to the unifying role that is often played by organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) in conflict situations. 
  • Peacebuilding organizations and governments should eliminate barriers to participation and improve accessibility, plan and budget for inclusion, partner with OPDs, and make all programs inclusive while also developing dedicated programs to further the inclusion of people with disabilities in peacebuilding.

About the Report

This report reviews the current state of disability inclusion in peacebuilding, covering the international legal frameworks, gaps requiring immediate attention, and opportunities. It concludes with recommendations for how organizations can further the inclusion of people with disabilities in peacebuilding. 

About the Author

Elizabeth Murray is a senior program officer in the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Africa Center, where she manages programs in the Central Africa region. She is the author of several USIP publications and co-editor of National Dialogues in Peacebuilding and Transitions: Creativity and Adaptive Thinking. Earlier in her career, she managed inclusive arts education programs.

Related Publications

The Ukraine War is Deepening Global Food Insecurity — What Can Be Done?

The Ukraine War is Deepening Global Food Insecurity — What Can Be Done?

Monday, May 16, 2022

By: Dr. Arif Husain

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the global economy was suffering from the repercussions of several man-made conflicts, climate shocks, COVID-19 and rising costs — with devastating consequences for poor people in low-income and developing countries. The war in Ukraine — a major “breadbasket” for the world — is deepening these challenges on an unprecedented scale. In the immediate, swift and bold action is required by both wealthy and low-income nations to avert further humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EconomicsEnvironmentGlobal HealthHuman Rights

How the Taliban’s Hijab Decree Defies Islam

How the Taliban’s Hijab Decree Defies Islam

Thursday, May 12, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Mohammad Osman Tariq

The Taliban continued this week to roll back Afghan women’s rights by decreeing women must be fully covered from head to toe — including their faces — to appear in public. This follows decrees limiting women’s ability to work, women’s and girls’ access to education and even limiting their freedom of movement. Afghan women are rapidly facing the worst-case scenario many feared when the Taliban took over last summer. While the Taliban justify these moves as in accordance with Islam, they are, in fact, contradicting Islamic tradition and Afghan culture as the group looks to resurrect the full control they had over women and girls when they ruled in the 1990s.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderHuman RightsReligion

Al-Hol: Displacement Crisis is a Tinderbox that Could Ignite ISIS 2.0

Al-Hol: Displacement Crisis is a Tinderbox that Could Ignite ISIS 2.0

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

By: Mona Yacoubian

More than three years after ISIS’s territorial defeat, the vexing challenge of displacement threatens to provoke the rise of ISIS 2.0 if not adequately addressed. The May 11 Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial meeting in Marrakech, Morocco highlights these concerns over the evolving threat the so-called Islamic State still poses. The Marrakech meeting coincides with both growing disquiet at deteriorating humanitarian and security conditions in the al-Hol displacement camp in northeast Syria — ground zero for the ISIS-related displacement crisis — and some hope for a path forward.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsViolent Extremism

Intolerance of Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine Should Apply to Afghanistan

Intolerance of Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine Should Apply to Afghanistan

Thursday, April 28, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Kate Bateman;  Scott Worden

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has caused massive loss of life and destruction of property, forcing millions to seek refuge in neighboring countries. There is mounting evidence that the Russian military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, intentionally attacking Ukrainian civilians. The urgent attention that Western countries have given to Russian war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine has the potential to provide some accountability for gross violations of human rights as well as to shore up a faltering framework of international human rights law.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsJustice, Security & Rule of LawGlobal Policy

View All Publications