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The Advocates' Oral Statement on People with Disabilities in Ukraine

August 15, 2022

The Advocates' volunteer Amy Fiterman delivered an oral statement on the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine before the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine this year, The Advocates has been interviewing people in Ukraine to document evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as other human rights violations. The Advocates shared testimonials of those living with disabilities who have been affected by the conflict before the UN CRPD. Some witnesses are struggling with both rare disorders as well as cancer. For those using a wheelchair, evacuation or sheltering in a safe place during shelling is difficult, if not impossible. Many people have been unable to access their needed medications and treatments since the war began. There have also been firsthand reports that Russians have been taking ill and disabled people from hospitals and orphanages and transporting them to "filtration camps," where this is little to no access to treatment, and people are "slowly dying."

Amy also described to the UN CRPD how "one witness in Ukraine has an 18-year-old son who is severely disabled as a result of a genetic condition. He requires medication and regular physical rehabilitation. After the Russian invasion, he was unable to obtain either his medication or his rehabilitation treatment. Now, medicine is available, though there can be delays in availability. He still cannot attend his rehabilitation because the family requires transport that previously was provided by the state. That transport service has stopped since the war began. The organization the witness worked with used to provide services to 1200 families with disabled children, but are now down to about 600 families. The most pressing concern for this witness at present is access for disabled children to rehabilitation and to products for daily needs such as diapers-particularly for older children. At the beginning of the war, more aid came in, but as it continues, the donations and supplies have waned. Her charity does what it can to collect donations from NGOs and governments that they distribute to needy households."

For more information on our work in Ukraine, please visit