Poland, Britain push UN disabled protection in war resolution

Poland's ambassador at the UN Joanna Wronecka expressed hope that the act will lead to changes in the treatment of disabled persons during armed conflicts. /PAP/EPA

The UN Security Council on Thursday voted through its first-ever resolution on the protection of disabled persons during armed conflicts. The act was piloted by Poland and Britain.

The resolution, code-numbered 2475, was passed unanimously at a council sitting on the protection of civilians during armed operations.

The act points to the situation of disabled persons during conflicts, especially their frequent abandonment, exposure to violence and inability to access basic services. It also obliges the conflicting sides to undertake all measures to protect and punish crimes against civilians, including disabled persons, such as killings, maiming, kidnapping, torture, rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

It also calls upon the conflicting sides to ensure unhindered access to humanitarian and legal aid to such persons, and if necessary provide them with compensation openings. Also, the document makes the sides responsible for ensuring the observance of human rights towards all civilians on their territories and territories under their jurisdiction.

The resolution also appeals to UN members to undertake all possible steps to eliminate the discrimination of disabled persons during armed conflicts.

The council members stressed that the resolution is a breakthrough in international law, and thanked Poland and Britain for preparing it. They also expressed gratitude to Russia and China for backing the act despite several objections. Russia claimed parts of the resolution stood outside the council's mandate, China said it should not infringe on the rights of sovereign states.

Poland's ambassador at the UN Joanna Wronecka expressed hope that the act will lead to changes in the treatment of disabled persons during armed conflicts, adding that Poland was ready to continue efforts to ensure that the interests of disabled persons are not neglected.