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Rebuilding Inclusive Societies in Post-Conflict Situations – the active involvement of Persons with Disabilities

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities


13 July 2023


Issued by Special Procedures


Persons with disabilities

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In the present report the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gerard Quinn, highlights the moral agency of persons with disabilities in rebuilding broken societies in the post-conflict context.


Pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 44/10, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of person with disabilities has begun the preparation of his thematic report to the 78th session of the General Assembly to be presented in October 2023. The report will look at peacebuilding processes and the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The report will conclude a three-part series analysing the protection of persons with disabilities and their human rights across the peace continuum. In the first report in 2021 (A/76/146), the Special Rapporteur examined the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of armed conflict with the objective to open and inform a broader dialogue about the visibility of persons with disabilities throughout the entire peace continuum. The second report in 2022 (A/77/203), considered the context of military and peacekeeping operations and provided guidance and recommendations on better protection of persons with disabilities at the strategic, tactical and operational levels during active hostilities.


Persons with disabilities have a unique contribution to make in re-building societies after conflicts. They have an innate instinct for inclusion – one of the key ingredients of any new political arrangement as well as an essential element for the enjoyment of human rights – and are therefore key actors towards a more sustainable and peaceful future. Disability is often perceived as a neutral issue transcending other divisions, making it easier to bring antagonists to the table, build common ground and reach agreements. A sustainable peace process is also one that comes to terms with the past and achieves accountability and moral repair for previous wrongs, which is just as important for persons with disabilities as it is for others.

The positive impact of persons with disabilities in peace building processes has long been widely acknowledged. It therefore comes as a surprise that very little space is made in peacebuilding arrangements to facilitate their participation, and this despite international instruments articulating relevant guidance.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) affords persons with disabilities a right to be closely consulted on all policies and decisions that affect them (Article 4.3) and to participate in political and public life (Article 29). Usefully, Article 29 sets out a series of positive actions that States can take to facilitate that participation. That is just as important in peacebuilding process as it is in the ordinary political process. Excluding persons with disabilities from peacebuilding processes means their perspectives and needs are not likely to be well reflected in post-conflict realities with a negative ripple effect on the enjoyment of their rights. Further, the CRPD specifically deals with situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies (Article 11) and with inclusive international and development cooperation (Article 32). Moreover, the UN Security Council resolution 2475 (2019) explicitly recognizes the value and critical contributions that persons with disabilities and their representative organizations can and do have on conflict prevention, resolution, reconciliation, reconstruction, peacebuilding and addressing the root causes of conflict.

In this context, the Special Rapporteur will outline the evidence for the positive impact of persons with disabilities in peacebuilding processes, looking both at how their participation helped to advance the overall process and in the outcomes for them specifically. He also intends to explore how the UN peacebuilding architecture integrates and includes persons with disabilities, while considering parallels with similar processes such as women, peace and security. On the basis of his analysis and conclusions, the Special Rapporteur will make recommendations to achieve better inclusion of persons with disabilities in peacebuilding processes.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

To inform his report, the Special Rapporteur would like to seek written inputs from all interested stakeholders and strongly encourages sharing concrete examples of good practices where available.

The questionnaire is available in English | Français | Español