South Sudan: People with Disabilities, Older People Face Danger

(Nairobi) – People with disabilities and older people in South Sudan face greater risks of being caught in fighting and greater challenges in getting necessary humanitarian assistance, Human Rights Watch said today.

Nyayak Olo Bapit, a Shilluk woman from Malakal, pictured in Juba. She was forced to flee Malakal after a bullet struck her left thigh during fighting there in January 2014.     


© 2017 Joe Van Eeckhout for Human Rights Watch

One year after the adoption, at the Istanbul Humanitarian Forum, of the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the United Nations and aid organizations should do more to accommodate the specific needs of people with disabilities and older people as they respond to the wider crisis and famine in South Sudan.

“People with disabilities and older people are often left behind during attacks and find themselves at much greater risk of starvation or abuse,” said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights director at Human Rights Watch. “This problem is especially acute in South Sudan, where decades of civil war has increased the number of people with disabilities, and where armed forces on both sides target civilians with impunity.”

In February and March 2017, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 45 people with disabilities and older people in displacement sites in Juba and Malakal, as well as in Panyijar county in the former Unity state, where the UN declared famine in two counties in February. Human Rights Watch also met with aid organizations and the South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

People with disabilities and older people in South Sudan face greater risks of being caught in fighting and greater challenges in getting necessary humanitarian assistance. 

The current conflict began in South Sudan on December 15, 2013, when forces loyal to President Salva…

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