Global call for papers: “Persons with Disabilities in the Context of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law, Policy and Action”

Global call for papers: “Persons with Disabilities in the Context of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law, Policy and Action”

The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006 marked a paradigm shift for the conceptualization of disability in international law. Where international law regarding persons with disabilities—including international humanitarian law (IHL)—had previously reflected the charity and medical models of disability, heavily laden with paternalism, the CRPD, its Committee, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities firmly situate disability within the social model understanding and human rights-based approaches. In part as a result of this shift, the humanitarian principles underlying IHL and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (especially humanity and  impartiality) are meaningfully supplemented by the general principles enshrined in the CRPD, including  the principles of dignity, autonomy and independence, non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity, and equality.

In light of the recent work by the CRPD Committee and the Special Rapporteur to further develop understanding of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of armed conflict, as well as the ICRC’s launch of its Vision 2030 on Disability on transforming disability inclusion in humanitarian operations, it is clear that this area is ripe for further discussion and development. Key to these conversations are a few central questions, though these are by no means exhaustive and are simply intended to stimulate thoughts and submissions. We encourage submissions responsive to these questions, as well as on other topics related to the broad themes of this edition.

On how IHL treats the nexus between disability and armed conflict:

  • How does IHL in its current form treat the nexus between armed conflict, on one hand, and disability and persons with disabilities, on the other?
  • During armed conflict, how does IHL interact with other bodies of law (and, in particular, international human rights law) relating to persons with disabilities?
  • What protections and rights are persons with disabilities ensured during armed conflict, and what obligations does IHL impose on parties to an armed conflict in that respect, in particular with regard to the way in which they conduct hostilities?
  • What specific protections does IHL afford to persons with disabilities who are detained during armed conflict, and are these protections sufficient?

On the principles of the CRPD and their relation to IHL and the conduct of hostilities:

  • Does and should IHL differentiate between persons whose impairments are caused by armed conflict and persons whose impairments arose from other causes than armed conflict, and would such a distinction be consistent with humanitarian and human rights principles?
  • Can and should the future and further development of IHL bring itself more closely in line with the principles of the CRPD, such as inclusion, participation, dignity, autonomy and independence?
  • What does meaningful inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities look like in the context of both IHL and humanitarian operations?
  • What could States’ armed forces, non-state armed groups, persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, UN agencies, humanitarian organizations, civil society and other actors do to operationalize the principles of inclusion and participation?
  • How can persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, UN agencies, humanitarian organizations, civil society and other actors contribute to the collection and analysis of data disaggregated by gender, age and disability on the particular barriers and risks faced by persons with disabilities in armed conflict?
  • How are persons with disabilities differentially affected by conflict and by humanitarian operations based on their other, intersecting identities?

On the aftermath of armed conflict:

  • Though most of IHL’s obligations apply during armed conflict, certain provisions—including, for example, provisions on missing or detained persons— remain applicable even once conflict ends.
  • To what extent does (and should) IHL govern the behavior of States regarding the treatment of persons with disabilities even once armed conflict has ended?
  • Has IHL sufficiently considered and accounted for the civilians and combatants who emerge from conflict with temporary or permanent disabilities?
  • How can IHL be used for the repression of IHL violations specifically committed against persons with disabilities and what is the complementary role of international criminal law in this regard?
  • Have IHL obligations regarding the winding-down of conflict, including in the context of peace processes, sufficiently accounted for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities?
  • Have other bodies of law, including international human rights law, sufficiently filled this gap?

This edition of the Review will provide broad coverage of IHL in the context of disability, in recognition of the fact that armed conflict impacts persons with disabilities and, at the same time, results in injury and trauma that contribute to disability.

The Review is pleased to release this call for papers on persons with a view to having the edition scheduled to launch on International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, i.e. 3 December 2022. Conversations around the rights of persons with disabilities extend, of course, far beyond the armed conflict space. However, given the focus of the Review and the constraints inherent in developing a single coherent edition of the publication, we ask that authors only send submissions that reflect the nexus between the rights of persons with disabilities, on one hand, and the conduct and regulation of armed conflict and the humanitarian response thereto, on the other hand.

We invite anyone interested to submit, by 15 January 2022, an abstract of maximum 500 words, plus a CV or bio of maximum 300 words. Please note that we particularly value innovative and creative arguments that may have an impact on future legal and policy debates with regard to international humanitarian law, policy and action. Note as well that the target length for a completed traditional article should be between, 8,000 and 10,000 words, though we are open to proposals for other formats (opinion notes, etc.) as well. If your submission is accepted, you will be notified by 10 February, and a draft of your completed article will be due by 15 April 2022.

In the abstract, please include:

  1. title;
  2. main arguments you intend to develop; and
  3. an explanation as to how your topic fits within the Review’s editorial line (for further reference, please visit our Guidelines for Authors.

Please send these materials in a single Word document to review@icrc.org. Note that, in line with our ongoing commitment to provide space for a diverse array of voices in this field, we encourage submissions by established and emerging voices alike. In addition, if your own personal experience particularly informs your perspective on these topics, we encourage you to compile a submission. Further, we stand ready to modify our editing and review processes to take into account the accessibility needs of our authors, who are encouraged to contact us regarding accommodations they may require.