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Syria conflict exposing those with disabilities to severe rights violations: UN

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) [official website] said Tuesday that the ongoing Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has victimized those with disabilities [press release]. The committee, which is made up of independent human rights experts, noted that Syria is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is there for obligated to take the necessary measures to protect those with disabilities. However, during times of conflict, those with disabilities are often overlooked, which can lead to even greater rights abuses and hardship. The CRPD highlighted the increased stress on those with disabilities in a refugee context, noting that Syria owes a humanitarian obligation to these individuals who are increasingly the victims of neglect or abuse because of their disabilities. According to the committee, "As the humanitarian emergency response increases in the region, it is essential that there are inclusive protection and assistance programmes for all in order to guarantee access to human rights and minimum standards of treatment."

The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of Assad. Earlier this week a group of UN experts called [JURIST report] for an end to supplying Syria with conventional weapons. Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] praised [JURIST report] the Syrian government's formal agreement to sign and abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) [text, PDF; OPCW backgrounder]. CWC signatories must agree to "chemically disarm" by destroying chemical weapon stockpiles and creating enforcement mechanisms to ensure that chemical weapons will not be produced, acquired or transferred within their jurisdiction. Rights groups accused [JURIST report] the Syrian government of responsibility for August 21 chemical weapon attacks, which allegedly involved the use of sarin nerve gas.

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