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Standardizing International Intervention for Disabled Ukrainian Civilians

Updated: Jun 14

Big Picture

The escalated role the United States is taking in this war highlights its significant responsibility in supporting the war effort and the efforts to aid unrepresented civilian minorities affected by the conflict, especially those with disabilities. Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukraine War, the Biden administration made its support for Ukraine well-known through secret meetings with Ukrainian officials. It continued requests for congressional funding to support the war and humanitarian efforts. This proposal aims to define standards for international intervention in protecting disabled citizens. 



Graphic From: Mellen, Ruby. “How Ukraine surpassed Israel to become the top recipient of U.S. military aid.” The Washington Post, 13 May 2022, www.washingtonpost.com. This figure illustrates the differences in funding from the U.S. to different countries for wars and conflicts. It compares explicitly the funding Ukraine has received in the last few months and the funding other countries have received in the previous few years. As shown, the U.S. has given significantly more funding to Ukraine in recent months than any other country in recent years.


Operative Definitions

  1. Uniting for Ukraine: A program created by the Biden administration that allows Ukrainian citizens to bypass the immigration process in exchange for a two-year stay in the United States. This program functions on the condition that they have financial support from an individual in the United States. 

  2. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): A political and military alliance consisting of 30 member nations and several partner countries that work to cooperate on an international scale to minimize global conflict. Ukraine is one of NATO’s partner nations.  

  3. United Nations (UN): An international peace-making body with 193 member states. The organization has a general body and specific committees that work to address issues in a non-militant manner. 

  4. Americans with Disabilities Act (1990): An anti-discrimination act to protect people with disabilities in the United States. Along with being anti-discriminatory, this act helped to renovate public buildings and transportation to accommodate people with physical disabilities. 


Important Facts and Statistics

  1. As of April 28th, 2022, the Biden Administration requests $33 billion in war aid from Congress. 

  2. The original motivation for getting the U.S. involved in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia was to help Ukraine maintain its sovereignty. However, the motivation has shifted to weaken Russia.

  3. Current efforts to support disabled Ukrainian citizens are financed by non-profit organizations such as Fight for Right.


Six-Point Plan

1)Revise the terms of Uniting for Ukraine. To best accommodate disabled Ukrainians entering the U.S. through the Uniting for Ukraine program, sponsors should have access to additional funding for any resources that would help them serve the disabilities of the refugees they are supporting. The terms of Uniting for Ukraine should be revised to give additional resources to the sponsors of disabled refugees. 

2) Internationalize efforts to protect disabled refugees. 

The world is responsible for protecting innocent people; doing so through an international front would give the efforts better funding and make them more wide-scale. Measures to protect refugees in the Russia-Ukraine war and globally must be centralized under an international body such as NATO or the UN. Because this initiative is taking place on a global scale, relevant countries, especially those who are hosting Ukrainian refugees, will each take on a role in the effort to relocate disabled refugees.  

3) Intervene where conflict is not currently occurring. 

Efforts to protect disabled Ukrainian citizens should be accomplished while avoiding conflict to maintain the peace-making reputation of the UN. If intervening in an area would cause more lives to be lost than saved, then intervention should not be done in this area. 

4) Funding provided by the United States for this initiative.

The U.S. has funded military and humanitarian efforts more than any other country. We should continue to be a world leader in this regard by funding this initiative that helps evacuate disabled citizens. Most Ukrainian refugees have escaped to neighboring countries, indicating that many do not need the U.S.’s funding to find refuge from war. Therefore, funds should be focused on moving disabled Ukrainian citizens out of the country. The financing of the evacuation efforts would be supplied directly to the organization that provides the workforce to help lead disabled Ukrainians out of the country.

5) Establish housing and reliable emergency healthcare for disabled refugees before evacuation.  Living and healthcare arrangements should be put in place before the refugees are evacuated to accommodate their accessibility needs best. The U.S. will provide start-up costs for housing and healthcare needs. However, the host country will be responsible for maintaining the refugee shelters and other national bodies that choose to contribute beyond initial costs. 

6) Focus on evacuation efforts only for Ukrainian citizens, not Russian citizens. To centralize efforts, NATO and the UN must choose a side in the conflict and directly provide non-military aid to refugees. Choosing one side will save the most lives and help to end the war. If efforts are decentralized, the conflict is less likely to end because support and the front of the war are varied. Having the global community's support, Ukraine would keep the war front in Ukraine and most likely end the war sooner because of the mass support behind one side. 


Why This Initiative is Important

Through years of protests and campaigns leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), the people of the U.S. have developed a passion for human rights, and the government now has the responsibility to treat people with and without disabilities as equals. Without considering these minority groups, supporting an equal opportunity for safety is nonexistent. To help evacuate all citizens, the U.S. should provide specialized care and attention to those who are physically challenged to escape. 



Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


The following student(s) worked on this nonpartisan proposal: Mollie Duffy, Miami University.


Sources

“About Us.” the United Nations, United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/about-us 


“OBAMA LEADER FIGHTS FOR RIGHT IN UKRAINE.” Obama Foundation, The Barack Obama Foundation, https://www.obama.org. Accessed 13 May 2022.


O'Hanlon, Michael E. “Doing It Right: The Future of Humanitarian Intervention.” Brookings, 1 Sept. 2000, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/doing-it-right-the-future-of-humanitarian-intervention/ 


“Uniting for Ukraine.” Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 21 April 2022, https://www.dhs.gov/ukraine


Wright, Robin. “Ukraine Is Now America's War, Too.” The New Yorker, 1 May 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/ukraine-is-now-americas-war-too



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