Refugees with disabilities: Ignored and forgotten?

19 Nov 2014
Welcome to our International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3! Around 4.5 million refugees have a disability. It is a fundamental principle when thinking about human rights that the State has the primary responsibility for protecting and fulfilling the human rights of its citizens. But who is responsible when the State fails to fulfill its duties? What happens with human rights in conflict situations, and how do such situations affect the most vulnerable groups in society?

For registration, please go to https://nettskjema.uio.no/answer/61584.html

Speakers at the conference will include State Secretary Bård Glad Pedersen, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Handicap International, Norwegian Red Cross and Norwegian Refugee Council

According to UN figures, around 15 % of the world’s population has a disability. According to the UNHCR, the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people who were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013 was 51.2 million. In turn, this means that around 4.5 million of the refugees have a disability. The numbers are probably higher since wars and disasters are continuously increasing the amount of persons with disabilities.

The UNDP has stated that: “Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency, and conflict situations due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts”.

Human rights in conflicts and emergencies
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes the fundamental principle that the State has the primary responsibility for protecting and fulfilling the human rights of its citizens.What happens with human rights in conflict situations, and how do such situations affect the most vulnerable groups in society? How can the various humanitarian actors contribute to the fulfillment of the rights of disabled persons? And not to forget, what is the responsibility of the receiving States in offering protection to the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities?