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Disabilities among Refugees and Conflict-affected Populations

In Disability, Health, Public policy, Reports on June 30, 2008 at 1:52 am

Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children releases the first major report to address the critical needs of this all-but invisible population

The Women’s Commission has released the first major report to address the critical needs of refugees and people displaced within their own countries who suffer from physical, sensory or mental disabilities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 7 and 10 percent of the world’s population lives with disabilities. It can therefore be calculated that between 2.5 and 3.5 million of the world’s 35 million displaced people are disabled. In fact, the number of people living with disabilities may be even higher among those who have fled civil conflict, war or natural disasters.

Yet sadly, people with disabilities remain among the most hidden, neglected and socially excluded of any population in the world today. They are often not counted in refugee registration drives or identified in data collection. Because of physical and social barriers, they are unable to access mainstream assistance programs offered to other refugees. Their potential is seldom recognized. They are often seen as a problem for their families and communities, rather than a resource. What’s more, the loss of traditional caregivers—extended families, neighbors—during displacement can leave them extremely vulnerable.

Report “Disabilities among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations”here