The rights of refugees with disabilities should be respected

20 June 2017
A wheel chair in a refugee camp in Greece

Recommendations for inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Migration

Globally, some 65 million people are currently forcibly displaced from their homes, the highest number ever recorded. Among the millions fleeing conflict and persecution, unprecedented numbers are people with disabilities and their families. Despite their numbers, those with disabilities are among the most neglected of all displaced people, facing significant challenges to accessing basic humanitarian assistance such as sanitation, food, and water due to attitudinal, physical and social barriers.

EDF has repeatedly called on the European Union (EU) and its Members States to respond to the migration crisis with a human rights based approach that puts people’s lives first. The EU should address the migration situation by providing a framework that is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the 1951 Refugee Convention. The CRPD enshrines a specific provision concerning situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies in article 11.

The rights of refugees and migrants with disabilities were at the heart of our event in the UN headquarters, in New York, on 13 June. The event took place in the framework of the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD – in short COSP. It was co-organised by EDF, the European Union, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, CBM, the UN Refugee Agency, Human Rights Watch, Unicef, the International Disability Alliance, Handicap International, Inclusion International, and the European Economic and Social Committee.

As a result of the event, a set of recommendations was produced to give a tool to advocate towards the Global Compact on Refugees, and the Global Compact for Migration; these are intergovernmentally negotiated agreements, prepared under the auspices of the UN, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

The draft text of the recommendations is available here

Find more about our work on refugees with disabilities here


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