Wednesday December 12, 2007
Discrimination in disasters
Red Cross has today launched its annual World Disasters Report, focusing this year on the issue of discrimination in disasters.
'Millions of people affected by disaster every year suffer disproportionately simply because they are discriminated against before, during and after the event by their families, their communities, their governments and even by the very agencies dedicated to providing relief' says Dale Cleaver, acting CEO Australian Red Cross.
The Report identifies groups who suffer the most from discrimination, amongst them the elderly, people with disabilities, certain minorities and women, all people whose views are seldom sought out or heard.
'All Aid agencies need to ensure that aid is distributed equitably. The challenge lies in identifying those groups most likely to suffer discrimination before it occurs' said Mr Cleaver.
Race, colour, gender, language, religion, politics, opinion, national or social origin, economic condition and birth are just some of the causes of discrimination that can compromise certain groups access to aid, according to the report, authored by independent experts on matters of discrimination and aid.
'One-size-fits-all relief planning can result in unintentional discrimination- when an aid organization has 100,000 people to help, it needs to know who those 100,000 are and how to reach the marginalized within them' said Mr Cleaver.
'Air drops, for example, exclude the young, old and people with disabilities. Emergency shelters often exclude people with disabilities, and poorly designed camps make women vulnerable to sexual violence and can prevent minorities from accessing aid.'