Disability, vulnerability and citizenship: to what extent is education a protective mechanism for children with disabilities in countries affected by conflict?

Humanitarian crises as a result of conflict are often characterised by failure of the social contract between the state and its citizens. For a variety of reasons, children with disabilities are often particularly vulnerable in time of humanitarian crisis. This paper draws on research undertaken by the authors in a series of countries affected by conflict and looks at how the politics and policies of such countries, and the humanitarian and development agencies working in them, continue to exclude children with disabilities from formal and informal education structures. It is argued that this exclusion not only impedes progress on inclusive education, but also has wider implications as education programmes are often the conduit through which a number of additional child protection mechanisms are implemented. Children with disabilities who are not in the formal education system are therefore at risk not only of missing out on education opportunities, but are also excluded from critical child survival initiatives, thus increasing their vulnerability.

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