International humanitarian law (IHL) seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities. However, IHL has been slow to develop effective measures that address the outsize harms experienced by certain marginalized groups, including children, women, LGBTQ+ persons, and persons with disabilities. Efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians during armed conflict (and other situations of risk) were intensified following failures of protection in Rwanda and Bosnia and served as the impetus for action by the international community through the United Nations (UN) system. Successive resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians generally and in relation to specific groups, including women and children, helped to highlight protection concerns. Only in 2019 did the UN Security Council acknowledge the enhanced risk that persons with disabilities experience during armed conflict, in the face of growing evidence of widespread human rights violations against them. This development spurred greater attention to the protection of persons with disabilities during armed conflict, as evidenced by the work of HPOD, the International Review of the Red Cross, and the focused reporting on the topic by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This panel of IHL experts and practitioners will take stock of recent developments that seek to enhance the protection of at-risk populations under IHL, better account for the harms experienced by otherwise “invisible” groups and outline strategies for building on these advances.
Real-time captioning (CART) will be provided.