28/03: Refugees with disabilities - overlooked, underserved

28 March 2017
Poster for the event showing a refugee family with one young boy in wheelchair

The European Disability Forum (EDF), together with the Vice-Chair of the Disability Intergroup at the European Parliament, MEP Brando Benifei, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), is pleased to invite you to participate in a hearing on the topic of refugees with disabilities: ‘Refugees and asylum-seekers with disabilities: Overlooked and underserved’. The meeting will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 March 2017 at 10.00 - 12.30. During the hearing, Nujeen Mustafa, a Syrian refugee with disability, will share her recent experience, and the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, will give the audience an insight into the work of the European Commission on migration.

This event will bring together representatives from organisations of people with disabilities, human rights organisations, humanitarian organisations, and the European Union (EU). It will provide a forum for the discussion of the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers with disabilities. By doing so, it aims at providing recommendations to humanitarian organisations, national authorities and the EU institutions to respond to the rights and needs of refugees and asylum-seekers with disabilities and develop more inclusive humanitarian response in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

Of refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Europe, people with disabilities are among the most disadvantaged. Many refugees and asylum-seekers with disabilities in reception centers are not properly identified and are largely left out of the humanitarian response. As a result, they lack equal access to essential services, including sanitation, healthcare and shelter. With significant funds being made available for the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, it is essential that all funding and services equally benefit people with disabilities.

No accurate data is available on the number of refugees and asylum-seekers with disabilities. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world population has a disability – a proportion likely to be higher for populations who have been affected by armed conflict. Given the large population and the high risks they face, the EU has a responsibility to ensure non-discrimination and equality in its humanitarian assistance.

The event is public. If you need a badge to enter the European Parliament, please send your full name, nationality, date of birth and ID number to Carmine Conte at the email below by Monday 20 March 2017.

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