RESOURCE: Refugees with Disabilities: Facts and Solutions

Posted on 27 August 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Inclusion, Resources, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What population in the world is the most excluded, marginalized, or simply forgotten? Many readers of this blog probably would immediately say, “people with disabilities.” But if you were to talk with someone who is a refugee from war, or someone who works with them, they might immediately say, “refugees.” So who is right? I suspect probably both. So what then of refugees with disabilities–forgotten both by people in the wider disability community and by people who work with refugees? Even this blog, in more than 300 posts, has only barely mentioned them before.

The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in June 2008 released two publications highly relevant to this community. The first is a report, Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations (PDF format, 1.81 Mb, 76 pages), that provides an overview of the situation facing disabled refugees. The second publication is meant to give workers some guidance in how they can ensure that refugees with disabilities are fully included in their programs: Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations: Resource Kit for Fieldworkers (PDF format, 328 Kb, 32 pages).

The report estimates that there are about 2.5 to 3.5 million refugees with disabilities around the world–enough, I would point out, to fill a small country. Not surprisingly, the report finds enormous challenges: shelters, food and water distribution centers, latrines, schools, health centers, and other vital services are often inaccessible. Refugees with disabilities are sometimes actively excluded from vocational training programs. Or, if they’re not intentially denied the right to participate, then they are often inherently excluded by the lack of appropriate accommodations.

Refugees dispersed in urban centers, away from refugee camps, often are even worse off. In concentrated refugee populations, at least it becomes easier to identify people with disabilities and thus to tailor services for them. But refugees living in the community, because they may be undocumented, are reluctant to identify themselves to receive services, whether or not they have disabilities. Furthermore, refugees with disabilities in urban settings are often ignored both by services for refugees generally and also by local Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs): in short, they often are being served by no one.

The good news is, some services do exist, including efforts to provide education to children with disabilities at least in refugee settlements. In some locations, refugees with disabilities and their families have organized their own self-help groups.

The accompanying resource kit is targeted at United Nations, nongovernmental organization (NGOs), and Disabled persons’ organization field staff who work with refugees, asylum seekers, and internationally displaced people with disabilities. Readers can consult this kit for ideas on improving services and protection for people with disabilities so they can participate more fully in their communities. If you’re looking for concrete, prescriptive guidelines and checklists, you won’t find that here. What you will find are questions that planners and decision makers should know the answers to, or find the solutions for. These offer broad guidelines as to the kinds of problem areas they should be on the look out for, with suggestions for how to address them.

At first glance, it seems an excellent start–with plenty of room for improvement. The Women’s Commission seems to be highly conscious of this: the introduction indicates they hope to build upon this publication in the future with input from, among others, DPOs and displaced people with disabilities themselves.

Download the report (PDF format, 1.81 Mb) at:

http://www.womenscommission.org/pdf/disab_fulll_report.pdf

Download the resource kit for fieldworkers (PDF format, 328 Kb), at:

http://www.womenscommission.org/pdf/disab_res_kit.pdf



We Can Do found this resource via the Disabled People International electronic newsletter and also during the course of assembling resources to go up on the Resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website. (The latter is still being constructed, but check back in late August or early September.)

Subscribe to We Can Do
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

Other Resources at We Can Do
Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. Other sites may be plagiarizing this post without permission.

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

3 Responses to “RESOURCE: Refugees with Disabilities: Facts and Solutions”

RSS Feed for We Can Do Comments RSS Feed

there is no information about when the page was last updated and who by

I am thanking you for writing about refugees with disabilities and challenges they are having. I am victim of polio which made damage to my left leg, now affecting my back. We have been refugees(my wife and our five children) in Uganda for 10years. We ran away for our lives from Congo. Due to negative attitudes toward disabled refugees, I have been denied to be interviewed for resettlement to a third country many time. My family is in danger if a permenant solution is not found for us.
For sure we (disabled people) in war time are in danger and very vulnerable. During the shooting in our vilage, I remember, when peole were running for their dear life, our severe disable children or adults were left by their own parents in the houses. The reason was they can not manged to run through the valley and mountain with them. If nothing have been made to protect disabled refugees, that is not strange situation to me. It started from home, parents.
If any one want to extend his arm to reach my family and meet me, please send us an email on lkamooti@hotmail.com. May God bless,

We are very thankful for describing the experience that we are facing being refugees with disabilities in our host countries. We are particularly touched by the experience and challenges that our fellow brother Lokana is facing in Uganda. We are in South Africa, and our community is terribly facing the same challenges. We are living in a system where the government and NGOs supposed to render services to refugees do not have any policy to deal with our challenges and end gross human right violation upon us. We just see ourselves abandonned to xenophobic violence.
Actually foreign nationals are being threatened with further xenophobic attacks and violence after the 2010 World Cup and it is unclear whether the government will be in a better position to prevent such violence and protect refugees in general and those with disabilities in particular being an easy target.
We are an organised association called DISABLED REFUGEES PROJECTS based in Johannesburg with 300 refugees with disabilities on our database. We do not know if the UNHCR ever think about any protective mesure toward us here in South Africa. We are then calling on possible ressetlement to limit these human rights violations on our community.

Contact: disabledrefugees@gmail.com
Tel: +27 110 500 742


Where's The Comment Form?

    About

    Ending poverty among and oppression toward disabled people in developing countries.

    RSS

    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS

    Meta

  • Help the U.S. Ratify the Disability Treaty!

    Image of an hour glass overlaid on image of the Capitol building in DC. Text says, "Time is running out! Now is the time for the Senate to Act! Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities! www.disabilitytreaty.org #CRPD

    Learn why the CRPD matters and how to take action at www.disabilitytreaty.org!

  • Subscribe!

  • Bookmark and Share
  • Translate!

  • Connect to Andrea Shettle via Linked In

  • Archives

  • Topic Categories

  • Make WeCanDo Your “Favorite”

  • Stumble Upon It!

    Stumble It! Share this blog with other readers via "Stumble Upon"!
  • Follow We Can Do in Facebook!

  • We Can Do is in the GDRL!

  • Blog Stats

    • 709,475 hits
  • Map of Visitors

    Map
  • Meta

  • Facebook Networked Blogs

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: