Accounting for Disability in International Humanitarian Law

39 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2023

See all articles by Janet Lord

Janet Lord

American University; Harvard University - Harvard Law School; University of Maryland School of Law

Date Written: November 15, 2022


IThe adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) represents an important and (potentially) progressive development in the protection framework under international humanitarian law (IHL). Article 11 of the CRPD specifically obliges States to protect persons with disabilities from harm in situations of risk, including armed conflict, consistent with IHL and human rights law. The CRPD framework signals the need to address the traditional framing of disability under IHL and to draw from human rights concepts in the CRPD in order to inform the protection accorded to persons with disabilities in armed conflict. This article is divided into four main parts: the first three address three main lines of inquiry, while the fourth is forward-looking. The first part analyzes the framing and construction of disability in IHL and the implications of such framing for the protection of persons with disabilities. The second part analyzes fundamental IHL rules in an effort to demonstrate how the framing of disability and the protection framework of the CRPD can be used in the application of IHL. The third part identifies some specific problem areas ripe for further disability scoping and harmonization of the CRPD and IHL. Looking forward, the fourth part identifies entry points for focused action and research aimed at bringing about the kind of dynamic treaty practice envisioned by Article 11 of the CRPD.

Suggested Citation

Lord, Janet, Accounting for Disability in International Humanitarian Law (November 15, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Janet Lord (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States


University of Maryland School of Law ( email )

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