HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Accounting for Disability in International Humanitarian Law

Janet Lord (University of Maryland), Accounting for Disability in International Humanitarian Law (2022):

The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) represents an important and (potentially) progressive development in the protection framework under international humanitarian law (IHL). Article 11 of the CRPD specifically obliges States to protect persons with disabilities from harm in situations of risk, including armed conflict, consistent with IHL and human rights law. The CRPD framework signals the need to address the traditional framing of disability under IHL and to draw from human rights concepts in the CRPD in order to inform the protection accorded to persons with disabilities in armed conflict. This article is divided into four main parts: the first three address three main lines of inquiry, while the fourth is forward-looking. The first part analyzes the framing and construction of disability in IHL and the implications of such framing for the protection of persons with disabilities. The second part analyzes fundamental IHL rules in an effort to demonstrate how the framing of disability and the protection framework of the CRPD can be used in the application of IHL. The third part identifies some specific problem areas ripe for further disability scoping and harmonization of the CRPD and IHL. Looking forward, the fourth part identifies entry points for focused action and research aimed at bringing about the kind of dynamic treaty practice envisioned by Article 11 of the CRPD.

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