This study is about the inclusion – or rather non-inclusion till today - of persons with disabilities in the management of complex humanitarian emergencies in Nigeria. The focus is on the key role that can be played by law as an instrument of protection through a legal framework that protects persons with disabilities during natural disasters and in situations of high risk such as armed conflict or civil and religious disturbances. These we call complex humanitarian emergencies in this study (CHEs). People with disabilities (PWDs) tend to be forgotten during planning for emergencies, despite being a special group of persons requiring protection. Sometimes they are simply forgotten or left behind in the crisis. In Nigeria, there is still no legislation or policy that seeks to guarantee the inclusion of PWDs in the management of complex humanitarian emergencies. Despite the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) having been ratified by Nigeria, there is no provision in domestic law to address the plight of PWDs in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters. Yet such provisions are contained in Article 11 of UNCRPD. The problem is that they are not yet domesticated in Nigeria, as required by the Constitution of the country. These provisions are so far non-justiciable therefore, and outside the scope of domestic legal remedies or rights. Interestingly, no other study has so far been conducted on this subject in Nigeria, and on this gap in legal protection for people with disabilities in times of emergencies. This study uses as its basis secondary sources, and the texts of laws and regulations, especially the legal provisions specifying the responsibilities of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency), which was established in 1999. Interviews were also conducted with some key decision-makers in the field. On this basis, the study identified a clear ‘gap’ in domestic legal protection. The study then examined the role of civil society, and especially of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in bringing about pressure on government to provide a legal framework that guarantees inclusion of PWDs in management of CHEs. Some obstacles to realizing this objective are identified, and the consequences of failing to provide legal protection will be highlighted. The hope ultimately is to show that such a legal framework is urgently required in Nigeria. Through a range of different examples and experiences, insights are sought for advocacy for inclusion of PWDs in all aspects of planning and management for complex humanitarian emergencies. Occasionally, DPOs have advocated in partnerships with international organisations, but the main focus of this study is on domestic actors engaged in Disability Advocacy.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Disability, Complex Humanitarian Emergencies (CHEs), Legal Protection, Human Rights-Based Approach, Disability Bill, Advocacy
Thesis Advisor Hintjens, Helen
Persistent URL
Series Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
Nwanegwo, Daniel. (2017, April 28). Disability advocacy: towards a legal framework for the inclusion of PWs in complex humanitarian emergency in Nigeria. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from