Mr. Giles Duley was designated as the first United Nations Global Advocate for persons with disabilities in conflict and peacebuilding situations on 3 December 2022, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Mr. Duley is a documentary photographer, writer, storyteller and the CEO of the charity Legacy of War Foundation.
In 2011, while working in Afghanistan, Mr. Duley was severely injured by an improvised explosive device and was left a triple-amputee. He underwent dozens of operations and returned to Afghanistan to continue his work as a photographer the next year. His work focuses on the long-term humanitarian impact of conflict and seeks to drive change for people with disabilities through sustainable, localized projects. This year he has been working extensively in Ukraine where the Foundation has delivered specialized aid including wheelchairs, medical equipment and ambulances.
As the UN Global Advocate Mr. Duley will speak to the immediate and long-term needs and rights of persons injured in conflict and living with disabilities, including those affected by explosive ordnance. And he will ensure that the voices of those disabled by explosive ordnance are heard in the larger conversations on persons with disabilities in peacebuilding processes.
In accepting the appointment Mr. Duley explained:
"It’s an honor to see my work recognized by the UN in this designation, but my work has always been to amplify the voices of others, and so this designation honors all their stories. In my role I represent them all, and I will continue being a conduit for their stories, advocating for all civilians left disabled by war and representing them in their search for justice and the support that is their right. In war those with disabilities are often represented as victims, denied equality in humanitarian support and excluded from peace processes. It is time for change. And if we work together, we have the strength and opportunity to create that change."
The role will be administered by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), Department of Peace Operations.