EU for Trisomy 21 statement on Ukraine conflict

26 February 2022

Brussels, 26.February 2022 – EU for Trisomy 21 stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with the grief, sadness, and devastation of every victim of this conflict. In any humanitarian crisis and armed conflict, people with Trisomy 21 or other disabilities face greater risks of violence, of being left behind on the run, of dying. According to the Disability Rights International’s 2015 “No Way Home” report over 2.7 Million people with disabilities are registered in Ukraine and over 82 thousand children live in institutions, segregated from society. Many of them are children with Trisomy 21.

The devastation of many of the major cities and the chaos resulting from this senseless conflict will have an immediate effect on the management and care provided in those facilities, with rumors flying that some of them are already being abandoned. 

We urge the European community and all countries dedicated to peace, solidarity and the respect of international law to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people and to use every means at their disposal to quickly end this aggression and restore peace.

We join the effort spearheaded by like minded organizations such as EDSA, the European Disability Forum and Down Syndrome international in their open letter to the Head of the European Institutions, European, Russian and Ukrainian Heads of State and NATO from 24 February 2022 which can be read in full here.

We particularly want to highlight the demands towards the political leadership and all humanitarian actors dealing with this crisis to ensure that persons with Trisomy 21 and disabilities:

  • have full access to all humanitarian aid;
  • are protected from violence, abuse and ill treatment;
  • are provided with accessible information about safety and assistance protocols, evacuation procedures and support;
  • have full access to basic services including water and sanitation, food, social support, education, healthcare, transport and information;
  • are accounted for and not abandoned;
  • are not left behind in institutions, are not forced to remain in institutions or are not moved into institutions on the basis of their disability and
  • are meaningfully involved in all inclusive humanitarian action, through their representative organizations.

Along with persons with Trisomy 21, particular attention must be paid to those who are most at risk – including (but not limited to) persons with intellectual disabilities, women, older persons, children, blind and deafblind persons, persons with psychosocial disabilities, persons with high support needs and persons internally displaced before recent incidents.

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