As many as 7.7 million of the world's 51 million people displaced by conflict have disabilities.* People with disabilities are among the most hidden and neglected of all displaced people, excluded from or unable to access most aid programs because of physical and social barriers or because of negative attitudes and biases. They are often not identified when aid agencies and organizations collect data and assess needs during and after a humanitarian disaster. They are more likely to be forgotten when health and support services are provided. Often, refugees with disabilities are more isolated following their displacement than when they were in their home communities.
* This figure is based on global estimates that 15% [WHO] of the 51.2 million [UNHCR] people forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence and human rights violations may be persons with disabilities.
The Women's Refugee Commission's Disability Program seeks to advance the rights and dignity of refugees and displaced persons with disabilities through researching and advocating for initiatives that develop their capacity to lead full lives and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. We work to:
Refugees and displaced persons with disabilities are at the center of our work, and we seek to promote their voices and participation in all of our activities. We support persons with disabilities to identify their concerns and possible solutions, bridging the gap between this group and those dedicated to carrying out assistance programs.
The Women's Refugee Commission played a key role in developing UNHCR's Conclusion on Refugees with Disabilities and Other Persons with Disabilities Protected and Assisted by UNHCR. We supported a coalition of organizations to advocate for specific language and issues that would help countries identify and serve refugees with disabilities. We also assisted and advised UNHCR in developing their operational Guidance on Working with Persons with Disabilities in Forced Displacement.
Use the drop-down menu on the left side of the page to access this program's Research and Resources.