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The Legal Protection of Refugees with Disabilities

Forgotten and Invisible? Mary Crock, Laura Smith-Khan, Ron McCallum and Ben Saul, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney, Australia
This ground-breaking book focuses on the ‘forgotten refugees’, detailing people with disabilities who have crossed borders in search of protection from disaster or human conflict. The authors explore the intersection between one of the oldest international human rights treaties, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, with one of the newest: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Drawing on fieldwork in six countries hosting refugees in a variety of contexts – Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Uganda, Jordan and Turkey – the book examines how the CRPD is (or should) be changing the way that governments and aid agencies engage with and accommodate persons with disabilities in situations of displacement. The timeliness of the book is underscored by the adoption in mid-2016 of the UN Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action adopted at the World Humanitarian Summit.
Extent: 336 pp
Hardback Price: $140.00 Web: $126.00
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 543 9
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Human Rights
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Migration
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Migration
Refugees living with disabilities are often forgotten or invisible during acute crises of human displacement. This groundbreaking work examines the experiences of persons with disabilities who have crossed borders in search of protection from disasters or conflict, and analyses the existing legal frameworks for their protection.

The authors deftly explore the intersection between one of the oldest international human rights treaties, the 1951 Refugee Convention, with one of the newest, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Drawing on pioneering fieldwork in six countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Uganda, Jordan and Turkey – this book examines how the CRPD is, or should be, changing the way that governments and aid agencies engage with and accommodate refugees with disabilities. Its timeliness is underscored by the adoption in 2016 of the UN Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Engaging and thought-provoking, this book will captivate any scholar studying international law, development, disability rights and refugee and forced migration studies. It is also an imperative resource for practitioners and policymakers in the humanitarian and development sector, as well as international human rights organisations.


‘At a time when the whole world is in an emotional state about refugees, with escalating polarization and discrimination, it is easy to invoke antagonistic feelings about the “other”. Sadly, our ideal of “living together” is being replaced by the word “security” each day and it is time we remember that there is another side to security. This is why I am honored to endorse this great book by Crock, Smith-Khan, McCallum and Saul; for reminding us of the protection issues and rights of refugees with disabilities, making them visible again. This book does not only provide a rich variety of field findings, identifying the complex issues related to forced displacement and disability in the field, but also offers great guidance on how to overcome these challenges through the utilization of international law.’
– Safak Pavey, MP, Turkish Parliament and former member of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

‘This pioneering book weaves together international human rights law as well as international humanitarian and refugee law in order to address the plight of an estimated 10 million disabled refugees in the world. It tracks the steady evolution of international humanitarian and refugee law to keep pace with the insights and new standards in the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, complementing legal analysis with a detailed and highly accessible examination of the situation on the ground. This work will endure as the standard reference work on refugees with disabilities, opening up a new field and doubtlessly attracting many others to contribute to it. It has a major role to play in framing a reform agenda to narrow the gap between the majestic generalities of the UN disability treaty and the actual living conditions of many millions of persons with disabilities.’
– Gerard Quinn, National University of Ireland
Contents: Part I Setting the Scene 1. Disability in refugee populations 2. Paradigm shift: The CRPD, international law and disability in displacement 3. Responding to disability in displacement: Country reports 4. Identifying disability 5. Lived experience of disability in displacement 6. Disability, intersectionality and context Part II Towards a rights regime for refugees with disabilities 7. Access to protection: Refugee rights and status determination processes 8. Disability rights, maritime interdiction and immigration detention 9. The right to survive: Disability and access to basic humanitarian assistance 10. Beyond mere survival: Rights to education, employment and community participation 11. The other ‘durable solutions’ for refugees with disabilities: resettlement and repatriation 12. Strategies for realising rights for refugees with disabilities Index