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Access to humanitarian services by persons with disabilities in Omugo settlement Arua District, West Nile region of Uganda

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Humanity & Inclusion (HI) relaunched its activities in Uganda in October 2017, with a major objective of providing inclusive protection and life-saving integrated humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable population (refugees and host population) affected by the refugee crisis in West Nile Region specifically in Omugo and Imvepi settlements.

In order to achieve this objective, HI implements a series of activities in four strategic areas of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Protection, and rehabilitation. Recently Inclusion department was introduced to ensure that the groups at risk of discrimination, in particular people with disabilities from host and refugee communities are protected, have meaningful access and participate in the humanitarian response on an equal basis like any other person in the community.

Nearly everyone faces hardships and difficulties at one time or another. But Global data shows that people with disabilities, face disproportionate protection risks and environmental barriers in situation of humanitarian crisis/ and or displacement and this non-access has greater impact. In some cases, the morbidity rate for persons with disabilities in disasters was estimated to be four times higher than for others. 75% of persons with disabilities report barriers to accessing humanitarian services, 92% of humanitarian actors estimate that persons with disabilities were NOT properly taken into account in the response.

Access to services is a fundamental human right, yet sometimes persons with disabilities face a number of environmental and attitudinal barriers and are exposed to disproportionate protection risks. People with disabilities, particularly girls and women, might hence become more vulnerable to (sexual) violence and abuse than before displacement . It is acknowledged that environmental barriers in combination with age, gender and disability factors exposing individuals, groups or communities to compounded vulnerability and expose certain communities, groups or individuals to higher protection risks and discriminative practices. In particular persons with disabilities are often left behind in crisis-affected communities, while being disproportionately exposed to violence, abandonment and neglect Disability is an evolving concept which results from the interaction between people with impairments with attitudinal and environmental barriers, hindering respect of rights, access to humanitarian assistance and full protection.

Its therefore one of HI’s strategy to ensure the particular risks, access barriers and facilitators are identified, analyzed, prevented and mitigated together with service providers, decision makers and service users including persons with disabilities to ensure full protection and inclusion.