We call on the EU to protect the rights of migrants and asylum seekers with disabilities

21 October 2020

The European Disability Forum is concerned that existing policies on asylum and migration, including the newly adopted Asylum and Migration Pact do not recognise the obligations that the European Union has under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

Migrants and asylum seekers with disabilities face the same risks as other refugees and they also face additional risks and human rights violations.

Due to systemic failure of States to respect their human rights obligations, migrants and asylum seekers with disabilities find themselves at heightened risk of violence, discrimination, inaccessible facilities, inaccessible support services or disruption of these services, being confined to segregated structures or institutions. In some cases, migrants and asylum seekers with disabilities have pre-existing health conditions make them more at risk of developing serious illness or dying. Due to lack of targeted measures, they are at higher risk of being affected and infected by COVID-19, as the virus spreads quickly in refugee camps, where people are living in overcrowded conditions, without access to adequate sanitation, food and water supplies.

Under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), both the EU and all its Member States are obliged to protect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants with disabilities (article 11 CRPD), including by providing them adequate support and combatting human rights violations, including restrictive detention.

Today EDF sent a letter to the EU Commissioner for Equality (pdf in new window) and a letter to the Director of the European Asylum Support Office (pdf in new window) calling them to ensure that asylum seekers and migrants with disabilities are included in all upcoming legislative and policy work on migration.

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