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Protection analysis: impact of COVID-19 measures on PSNs in refugee communities in Uganda

PERSONS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS SUB-WORKING GROUP, UGANDA
May 2020

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The Persons with Specific Needs (PSN) sub working group is a collective of over 20 organisations including UN agencies, NGOs, Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs), and Government (Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Office of the Prime Minister) which regularly meets within the Uganda refugee coordination model to discuss issues relevant to refugees with specific needs, with a particular focus on persons with disabilities and older persons.

 

April 2020 the PSN SWG members started to collect evidence from a range of sources on the specific impact of the COVID-19 crisis and containment measures on PSNs within refugee communities in Uganda.

Introduction to Disabled Refugees Welcome project

INDEPENDENT LIVING INSTITUTE
January 2018

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Disabled Refugees Welcome (DRW) is a 3-year project run by Independent Living Institute (ILI) and it's main goal is to develop methods that will improve the conditions for the reception of disabled newcomers in Sweden. 

 

Project worker Julius Ntobuah shares his experiences as an asylum seeker with disability in Sweden and his commitment for better reception of newcomers with functional disabilities.

Mental health and trauma in asylum seekers landing in Sicily in 2015: a descriptive study of neglected invisible wounds

CREPET, Anna
RITA, Francesco
REID, Anthony
et al
January 2017

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Abstract

 

Background

 

In 2015, Italy was the second most common point of entry for asylum seekers into Europe after Greece. The vast majority embarked from war-torn Libya; 80,000 people claimed asylum that year. Their medical conditions were assessed on arrival but their mental health needs were not addressed in any way, despite the likelihood of serious trauma before and during migration. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), in agreement with the Italian Ministry of Health, provided mental health (MH) assessment and care for recently-landed asylum seekers in Sicily. This study documents mental health conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties experienced by asylum seekers in the MSF programme in 2014–15.

 

Methods

 

All asylum seekers transiting the 15 MSF-supported centres were invited to a psycho-educational session. A team of psychologists and cultural mediators then provided assessment and care for those identified with MH conditions. Potentially traumatic events experienced before and during the journey, as well as post-migratory living difficulties, were recorded. All those diagnosed with MH conditions from October 2014 to December 2015 were included in the study.

 

Results

 

Among 385 individuals who presented themselves for a MH screening during the study period, 193 (50%) were identified and diagnosed with MH conditions. Most were young, West African males who had left their home-countries more than a year prior to arrival. The most common MH conditions were post traumatic stress disorder (31%) and depression (20%). Potentially traumatic events were experienced frequently in the home country (60%) and during migration (89%). Being in a combat situation or at risk of death, having witnessed violence or death and having been in detention were the main traumas. Lack of activities, worries about home, loneliness and fear of being sent home were the main difficulties at the AS centres.

 

Conclusion

 

MH conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties are commonly experienced by recently-arrived ASs, this study suggests that mental health and psychosocial support and improved living circumstances should be integrated into European medical and social services provided by authorities in order to fulfil their humanitarian responsibility and reduce the burden of assimilation on receiving countries.

 

Keywords

 

Immigration Asylum seekers Refugee Mental health Italy Europe Traumatic event Operational research

Greece: Refugees with Disabilities Overlooked, Underserved

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
January 2017

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Refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants with disabilities are not properly identified and do not enjoy equal access to services in reception centres in Greece.  On the basis of research carried out in mainland Greece and on the Greek islands in October 2016 and January 2017, and follow-up phone interviews in December 2016 and January 2017, Human Rights Watch found that asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities are not properly identified in Greece, in part because of a rushed registration process and the need for better guidance for staff. Without an adequate understanding of the scale and needs, aid agencies cannot respond effectively. Problems with equal access to water and sanitation services, food distribution, shelter, and health care including mental health and psychosocial support are reported.

Mental health and trauma in asylum seekers landing in Sicily in 2015: a descriptive study of neglected invisible wounds

CREPET, Anna
RITA, Francesco
REID, Anthony
et al
January 2017

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While the medical conditions of newly migrated asylum seekers to Sicily were being addressed, the mental health of those who may have experienced trauma before, during, or after their migration was not addressed. "Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), in agreement with the Italian Ministry of Health, provided mental health (MH) assessment and care for recently-landed asylum seekers in Sicily. This study documents mental health conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties experienced by asylum seekers in the MSF programme in 2014–15." 

The plight of people living with disabilities within Australian immigration detention : demonised, detained and disowned

FLANAGAN, Jane
March 2015

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This research paper focuses upon the situation faced by disabled asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities in the immigration detention centres of Australia, both onshore and offshore facilities. It presents the results of the current system of detention of refugees and highlights if  the current system discriminates against disabled refugees, and is biased against their needs and human rights

Disability and Forced Migration: Critical Intersectionalities

PISANI, Maria
GRECH, Shaun
2015

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The vast majority of the world’s displaced people are hosted in the global South, in the poorest countries in the world. This is also a space with the highest numbers of disabled people, many of who live in extreme and chronic poverty. This poverty, alongside deprivation, wars, conflict, and environmental disasters is what drives people to flee, in search of security. This includes disabled people. In spite of this, this population (disabled forced migrants) continues to be cast in a shadow, of epistemological, ontological and practical invisibility. It is hardly theorised in forced migration studies and rarely contemplated in humanitarian intervention. The lives of disabled forced migrants are cast aside in a Eurocentric disability studies that remains global North-centric and focused, while Southern contexts and histories and the geopolitics that envelope them, are forgotten or never known. Migration theory grows without the disabled person, disability studies without the migrant, and practice without the disabled migrant. In this paper, we explore the disability/forced migration nexus with a view to understanding some of the critical intersectionalities that emerge, and their implications for theory and practice. We trace elements of the forced migration trajectory, from exodus, to crossing international borders, to life in protracted refugee camps, the use of networks and smugglers, to those related to national and human security. We argue that forced migration studies, as well as humanitarian practice continue to be premised on and adopting an ableist approach focused on heteronormative productive bodies, while disability studies, with a corpus of work premised on an assumption of citizenship, has failed to critically engage with issues of sovereignty, borders and bodies that lie beyond the protection of the Nation State. In this paper, we also question and contest dominant and hegemonic frames that are historically contextualized, alongside discourses and structures that not only produce forced migration, but also serve to perpetuate the global divide and inequalities. We conclude by calling for a critical interrogation of theoretical perspectives in both forced migration and disability studies, in policy and humanitarian action, and to work towards a praxis geared towards social justice for disabled forced migrants.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 1

‘Nowhere to be found’: disabled refugees and asylum seekers within the Australian resettlement landscape

SOLDATIC, Karen
SOMERS, Kelly
BUCKLEY, Amma
FLEAY, Caroline
2015

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Australia has long placed restrictions on the immigration of people with disabilities. While recent civil society mobilisation has forced some shift in policy, it is far from clear whether this will result in people with disabilities being accepted as immigrants. The issue is complicated further for people defined as ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ who have encountered the migration restrictions on disability. As a result of this policy landscape, there is limited rigorous research that seeks to understand the social inclusion and participation of disabled refugees and asylum seekers within the resettlement process. An extensive review reveals that refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities remain largely absent from both resettlement literature and disability research. This paper summarises the limited available research in the area around the following themes: processes of offshore migration and the way that disability is assessed under Australia’s refugee legislation; the uncertainty of the prevalence of disability within refugee and asylum seeker communities; the provision of resettlement services, both mainstream and disability-specific, through the transitional period and beyond; and the invisibility of asylum seekers with disabilities in Australia’s immigration detention centres, community-based arrangements and offshore processing centres. To conclude, the paper outlines implications for further research, policy and practice in the Australian context.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 1

‘Disabled asylum seekers?… They don’t really exist’: The marginalisation of disabled asylum seekers in the UK and why it matters

YEO, Rebecca
2015

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This paper is based on a study conducted with disabled people seeking asylum in the UK, using art as a means to bring out and promote people’s key messages in public spaces. The findings suggest that people with these intersecting identities lack sufficient numbers, resources or allies to assert their needs and rights in statutory, nonstatutory or even peer support organisations in the UK. This results in such deprivation and isolation, that their very existence is often obscured. The paper argues that not only does such marginalisation cause unnecessary suffering among those directly affected, but also negatively impacts on the whole population. A hierarchy of entitlement may impede recognition of the causes and commonalities of oppression and therefore also hinder solidarity. Where reduced standards become acceptable for certain people, the imposition of similar standards on others is facilitated, particularly in the context of neo-liberal austerity. Many of the recent restrictions imposed on disabled citizens and other benefit recipients have been used on disabled asylum seekers for more than a decade. If, as Barbara Young Welke suggests (2010:156) the problem is systemic, then inclusion cannot be the solution. This paper concludes that systemic change is needed to end the differential ranking of people’s worth and to build greater solidarity.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 1

Disability and displacement

REFUGEE STUDIES CENTRE, UINVERSITY OF OXFORD
July 2010

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The 27 feature theme articles in this issue of Forced Migration Reveiw show why disabled people who have been displaced need particular consideration and highlight some of the initiatives taken (locally and at the global level) to change thinking and practices, so that their vulnerability is recognised, their voices heard, and responses are inclusive

Disabilities among refugees and conflict-affected populations

WOMEN'S COMMISSION FOR REFUGEE WOMEN AND CHILDREN
June 2008

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"This report is the culmination of a six-month project...to address the rights and needs of displaced persons with disabilities, with a particular focus on women (including older women), children and youth. Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as global desk research, the Women’s Commission sought to map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify gaps and good practices and make recommendations on how to improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons with disabilities"

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