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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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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

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

Expand view

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 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 : resource kit for field workers|Improving services for displaced persons with disabilities : lessons learned and ideas for action

WOMEN'S COMMISSION FOR REFUGEE WOMEN AND CHILDREN
June 2008

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This resource kit offers ..."practical ideas on how to improve services and protection for people with disabilities and enhance their inclusion and participation in community affairs. It is based on the findings of five country field studies, as well global desk research into other refugee and internally displaced persons programmes and an analysis of existing international policies and practices relating to displaced persons with disabilities. It would be useful to United Nations, non-governmental organisation, community-based organisation and disabled people's organisation field staff working with refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons with disabilities"

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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