People with disabilities face many additional difficulties before, during and after displacement but provision of appropriate assistance and protection for all is feasible.
In 2007 the Women’s Refugee Commission launched a major research project to assess the situation for those living with disabilities among displaced and conflict-affected populations.
The humanitarian relief community needs to collect disability-specific data through rapid needs assessments, registration processes, accessing local knowledge and disability monitoring.
The difficulties faced by persons with disabilities throughout the displacement process contribute to their increased vulnerability.
An assessment conducted in Sri Lanka in 2008 revealed that displaced people with disabilities were extremely vulnerable to protection incidents and their vulnerability was increased by their lack of voice.
"People with disability live in families and live in communities. We cannot be separated from society.” Simon Ong’om, Chairperson of the Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU)
Among the greatest protection risks facing refugees with disabilities in Dadaab are discrimination and stigmatisation.
In the face of continuing funding cuts to programmes, residents and staff in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya have had to find new ways to support persons with disabilities.
When does war end and peace begin? When a peace accord is signed? When the intervention forces leave and those responsible are put on trial? Or when civilians can return home and resume their livelihoods?
While various international instruments are in place to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, knowledge of these at a grassroots level is limited. At the same time, holding governments that have signed or ratified some of these mechanisms accountable is no easy task, especially in times of disaster.
The New Zealand government accepts refugees with disabilities and has established structures and partnerships to facilitate their participation in society.
New Zealand welcomes refugees with disabilities – but how well are they supported after arrival?
Small, refugee-led community organisations are disproportionately taking the strain for supporting London’s disabled asylum seekers and refugees.
Over the past few decades there have been some positive (albeit inconsistent) changes in US refugee admissions policy as well as in UNHCR’s guidelines for resettlement, especially relating to refugees with disabilities.
With regard to the reception of asylum seekers in the European Union, provisions for the protection of people with disabilities are found in a wide range of regulatory sources.
Although refugees who enter the United States are encouraged to integrate into American life, many struggle to navigate the country’s service delivery system, especially those with disabilities.
Despite the challenges and barriers experienced by displaced learners with disabilities and the evident need for further human and financial resources, inclusive education in crisis contexts is possible.
Assessing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities has traditionally been much neglected in refugee assistance programmes. Assessments in Yemen have highlighted shortcomings in service provision and enabled local actors to prioritise accordingly.
In providing effective assistance to displaced people with disabilities in Sri Lanka, partnerships and negotiating skills have proved essential.
The cluster system offers space for raising awareness among humanitarian actors and for putting disability on the agenda, but it impairs local and cross-cutting dynamics at field level.
An inclusive approach to water and sanitation provision can facilitate good hygiene behaviour, improve self-reliance and reduce the prevalence of many preventable diseases.
Why support UNHCR’s proposed ExCom Conclusion on Disability?
The hardest aspect of accountability to disaster-affected persons seems to be managing the tensions between the timeliness and the quality of a response.
The views of Sri Lankan refugees in India challenge some of the assumptions inherent in promoting repatriation as the most desirable durable solution to protracted displacement.
Despite the administrative, logistical, political and cultural challenges of working in Darfur, the Gereida Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Centre has made significant progress in a short time.
There is growing recognition that refugees’ mobility is a positive asset that can contribute to their lasting protection.
The Declaration of Cartagena is important as it includes elements that link the three threads of international protection – humanitarian law, human rights and the rights of refugees – in legislation, interpretation and operation.
Recent initiatives in Brazil have strengthened protection and enhanced integration opportunities for refugees.