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03 Dec 2016 by Ludwig Boltzmann

International Day of Persons with Disabilites

On 3rd December 2016, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we set a focus on experiences of violence and discrimination against persons with disabilities, who fled and seek protection in Europe.

So far only few studies exist, such as the one of FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency), of Handicap International and Help Age International and the University of Sydney, that are dealing with the specific situation of persons with disabilities on the move.

There are various aspects, which need to be taken into account in the context of disability and flight such as: the disability itself, war injuries, chronic or mental illnesses very often contribute in deciding to leave the home country. Routes to flee war and terror are much more dangerous for persons with disabilities and their relatives. A large-scale study from the University of Sydney showed that the risk to become affected by sexual violence is extremely high for persons with disabilities. Furthermore approval procedures, the education sector, the labour market, as well as barrier free access to information or the health care system in receiving states constitutes many hindrances and challenges for persons with disabilities. Oftentimes these people are overlooked or not taken into consideration and are therefore not receiving the adequate support that they would need and deserve.

The implementation of Articel 11 (Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the EU Receptions Conditions Directive 2003/9/EG, is quite differently installed in the provinces of Austria confirmed the Austrian Monitoring Committee in September 2016.

Lots of institutions for protection seeking persons or information etc. are not barrier free accessible but there is also little awareness for the specific needs of persons with disabilities by state and non-state organisations as well as within the society as a whole.


  • Data collection regarding protection seeking persons with disabilities and their specific needs
  • Providing comprehensive barrier free access from the beginning
  • Adequate care and support
  • Participation of self-advocates/disabled people organisations, especially regarding preparation of interventions/actions and their implementation
  • Provision of financial means
  • Awareness raising