All Under One Roof
1.2 Key Principles
First, do no harm. Humanitarian actors must take into account both context-related and action-related risks so that they do not create, exacerbate or contribute to perpetuating inequalities or discrimination and must not put people at risk. Achieving this, requires mainstreaming of protection principles, and the ambition should go beyond ‘do no harm’ to ‘make things better’ for persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups.
Centrality of protection. These guidelines, in alignment with the Global Shelter Cluster strategy aim to support the centrality of protection in humanitarian shelter and settlements action.
Disability is described by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as “an evolving concept that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. This definition considers that disability is a social construct that results from the interaction between an impairment (e.g. physical, hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual, psychosocial), barriers which exist in our environment (e.g, negative attitudes, absence of laws and policies, lack of physical and communication accessibility) as well as other intersecting personal factors such as gender, age, race, nationality, religion (or lack thereof), ethnicity, financial and education background. Perceptions and experiences of disability are complex, but these guidelines align with the definition of the CRPD and as such have an approach based on removing barriers, raising awareness and changing attitudes, policy and practice.
Rights-based approach. Underpinned by the CRPD, a rights model of disability recognises that disability is a social construct that creates barriers preventing people with disabilities from participating in society on an equal basis with others. A right-based approach recognises that impairments should not result in the denial or restriction of human rights of individuals affected by disaster and crisis. It also requires humanitarian actors to recognise the capacity of persons with disabilities to contribute to humanitarian response.
Principle of non-discrimination. Non-discrimination and equality are fundamental human rights principles and critical components of the right to adequate housing. Discrimination on the grounds of disability in the shelter and settlement sector can contribute to (or result in) economic marginalisation, poverty, institutionalisation, or homelessness.
Mainstreaming disability inclusion in shelter and settlements programming entails incorporating principles of the CRPD to promote the safety and dignity of persons with disabilities, and ensure they have meaningful access to humanitarian support and can participate fully in humanitarian interventions. Mainstreaming does not focus on what is done, but on how it is done. Disability should be mainstreamed in all sectors and all phases of the humanitarian programme cycle and this guidance contains recommendations on how this can be done in the shelter sector.
Participation. These guidelines promote meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in every stage of humanitarian shelter and settlements activities, which includes drawing from their “leadership, skills, experience and other capabilities to ensure their active participation in decision making and planning processes including in appropriate coordination mechanisms”.
Twin-track approach. The ‘twin track approach’ combines “inclusive mainstream programmes with targeted interventions for persons with disabilities”. First, Mainstream programmes and interventions, designed for the whole population, need to include persons with disabilities. In shelter and settlements programming, this may include ensuring that distribution sites are placed in locations that are accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. Second, programmes and interventions need to address the specific requirements of persons with disabilities by providing targeted interventions. For shelter and settlements programming this may include: delivering shelter and household items to persons with disabilities who are unable to reach distribution sites.
Intersectionality is an analytic framework that demonstrates how forms of oppression (such as racism, sexism, ableism) overlap, defining unique social groups. An intersectional approach assumes that harms and violations associated with disability, race and ethnicity, gender, or other identities cannot be understood sufficiently by studying them separately. To see clearly how they affect access to resources or create risks for persons with disabilities, it is necessary to see how disability, age, gender and other factors interrelate and to evaluate their overall effect.
People first-language is used to communicate appropriately and respectfully with and about an individual with a disability. People-first language emphasises the person first, not the disability. In this document the third person forms: them, they or their have been avoided. This is partly because the guidance builds upon the experience and participation of persons with disabilities, but also because disability is something the vast majority of us will experience, in shorter or longer periods, personally or as caregivers, at some stage during our life.