Skip to main content

Disability and Forced Migration: Critical Connections and the Global South Debate

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Disability Law and Human Rights

Abstract

Disability and forced migration are still seldom placed together at the epistemological level, and only recently at the policy and practice levels. When they are addressed, though, they are too often seen through a vulnerability lens. As a result, disabled refugees the various intersectionalities, remain on the peripheries of migration, disability, development, humanitarian and human rights discourses, and when they are ‘seen’, they are approached in a way that disempowers and denies their agency. This chapter seeks to critically explore the discursive and practice intersections of disability and forced migration, positioning this debate within the broader human rights and global South landscape.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    For the purpose of this chapter, the term ‘refugee’, refers to any individual who feels compelled to leave their home in search of safety and security. Individuals in this position are increasingly forced to take illegalized and dangerous routes.

  2. 2.

    UNHCR (2004: 1) defines a protracted refugee situation as ‘one in which refugees find themselves in a long-lasting and intractable state of limbo. Their lives may not be at risk, but their basic rights and essential economic, social and psychological needs remain unfulfilled after years in exile. A refugee in this situation is often unable to break free from enforced reliance on external assistance’.

References

  • Arendt, H. (1951) The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bivand Erdel, M. and Oeppen, C. (2017) Forced to Leave? The Discursive and Analytical Significance of Describing Migration as Forced and Voluntary. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(6), 981–998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bogic, M., Njoku, A. and Priebe, S. (2015, October 28) Long-Term Mental Health of War-Refugees: A Systematic Literature Review. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 15, 29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12914-015-0064-9.

  • Bryant, R. A., Edwards, B. et al. 2018. The Effect of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on Refugees’ Parenting and Their Children’s Mental Health: A Cohort Study. Lancet Public Health, 3(5), 249–258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CBM, HI and IDA. 2019. Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. Germany: CBM.

    Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, F. K. 2001. Inciting Legal Fictions: Disability's Date with Ontology and the Ableist Body of the Law. Griffith Law Review, 10(2001), 42–62.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crock, M., Ernst, C. and McCallum, R. 2013. Where Disability and Displacement Intersect: Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Disabilities. International Journal of Refugee Law, 24(4), 735–764.

    Google Scholar 

  • El-Lahib, Y. 2015. The Inadmissible “Other”: Discourses of Ableism and Colonialism in Canadian Immigration. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 26(3), 209–228.

    Google Scholar 

  • European Union. 2016. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council: Establishing a Common Procedure for International Protection in the Union and Repealing Directive 2013/32/EU. Brussels: EU.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. 2017. Disrupting Humanitarian Narratives? Representations of Displacement Series. Available online: https://refugeehosts.org/representations-of-displacement-series/.

  • Grech, S. 2015. Disability and Poverty in the Global South: Renegotiating Development in Guatemala. London: Palgrave.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Grech, S. 2011. Recolonising Debates or Perpetuated Coloniality? Decentring the Spaces of Disability, Development and Community in the Global South. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(1), 87–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grech, S. 2019. Disabled families: The impacts of disability and care on family labour and poverty in rural Guatemala. Societies, 9, 76. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9040076.

  • Handicap International. 2015. Disability in Humanitarian Contexts Views from Affected People and Field Organisations. Paris: Handicap International.

    Google Scholar 

  • HI. 2015. Disability in Humanitarian Context: Views from Affected People and Field Organisations. Paris: HI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holden, J., Lee, H. et al. 2019. Disability Inclusive Approaches to Humanitarian Programming: Summary of Available Evidence on Barriers and What Works. London: DFID.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holmes, S. M. and Castañeda, H. 2016. Representing the “European Refugee Crisis” in Germany and Beyond: Deservingness and Difference, Life and Death. American Ethnologist, 43(1), 12–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, B. 2016. Impairment on the Move: The Disabled Incomer and Other Invalidating Intersections. Disability & Society, 32(4), 467–482.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IASC. 2019. Guidelines: Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. New York: IASC.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ingleby, D. (Ed.). 2005. Forced Migration and Mental Health: Rethinking the Care of Refugees and Displaced Persons. US: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • IOM. 2016. Disability and Unsafe Migration: Data and Policy, Understanding the Evidence. Global Migration Data Analysis Centre: Data Briefing Series. https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/gmdac_data_briefing_series_issue_7.pdf.

  • Kett, M. and Trani, J. 2010. Vulnerability and Disability in Darfur. Forced Migration Review, 35, 12–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mainwaring, C. 2016. Migrant Agency: Negotiating Borders and Migration Controls. Migration Studies, 4(3), 289–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McRuer, R. 2006. Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and Queer/Disabled existence. In L. J. Davis (ed.), The Disability Studies Reader (pp. 161–172). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mezzadra, S. and Neilson, B. 2013. Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Mingot, E. S. 2019. The Gendered Burden of Transnational Care-Receiving: Sudanese Families Across The Netherlands, the UK and Sudan. Gender, Place & Culture, 27(4), 546–567.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. 2011. Disability and Humanitarianism in Refugee Camps: The Case for a Travelling Supranational Disability Praxis. Third World Quarterly, 32(8), 1527–1536.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morina, N. et al. 2018. Psychiatric Disorders in Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons After Forced Displacement: A Systematic Review. Front Psychiatry, 9, 433. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • OCHA. 2019. Global Humanitarian Overview 2019. OCHA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Passey, M. 2018. How Migration to Europe Affects Those Left Behind. Forced Migration Review, FMR57, 35–37.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pisani, M. 2011. There's an Elephant in the Room and she’s “Rejected” and Black. Open Citizenship, 2, 24–51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pisani, M. 2012. Addressing the ‘Citizenship Assumption’ in Critical Pedagogy: Exploring the Case of Rejected Female Sub-Saharan African Asylum Seekers in Malta. Power and Education, 4(2), 185–195.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pisani, M. and Grech. S. 2015. Disability and Forced Migration: Critical Intersectionalities. Disability and the Global South, 2(1), 421–441.

    Google Scholar 

  • Siebers, T. 2008. Disability Theory. Michigan: University of Michigan Press

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Smith-Khan, L. and Crock, M. 2019. ‘The Highest Attainable Standard’: The Right to Health for Refugees with Disabilities. Societies, 9(2).

    Google Scholar 

  • Soldatic, K. and Grech, S. 2014. Transnationalising Disability Studies: Rights, Justice and Impairment. Disability Studies Quarterly, 34(2).

    Google Scholar 

  • Soldatic, K., Somers, K. et al. 2015. ‘Nowhere to Be Found’: Disabled Refugees and Asylum Seekers Within the Australian Resettlement Landscape. Disability and the Global South, 2(1), 501–522.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sözer, H. 2019. Categories That Blind Us, Categories That Bind Them: The Deployment of Vulnerability Notion for Syrian Refugees in Turkey. Journal of Refugee Studies, 34(3), 2775–2803. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fez020.

  • Squire, V, Dimitriadi, A. and Perkowski, N. 2017. Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences. Final Project Report, 4 May. Available at: https://www.warwick.ac.uk/crossingthemed.

  • Turner, B. S. 2006. Vulnerability and Human Rights. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations. 2018. Support Mission in Libya & OHCHR. Desperate and Dangerous: Report on the Human Rights Situation of Migrants and Refugees in Libya. Geneva: United Nations.

    Google Scholar 

  • UNHCR. 2019a. Working with Persons with Disabilities in Forced Displacement 2019. Rome: UNHCR.

    Google Scholar 

  • UNHCR. 2019b. Figures at a Glance. https://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html.

  • UNICEF. 2017. Including Children with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. Paris: UNICEF

    Google Scholar 

  • UNICEF. 2018. No End in Sight to Seven Years of War in Syria: Children with Disabilities at Risk of Exclusion. https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/no-end-sight-seven-years-war-syria-children-disabilities-risk-exclusion.

  • WHO and World Bank. 2011. World Report on Disability. Washington: World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yeo, R. 2019. The Regressive Power of Labels of Vulnerability Affecting Disabled Asylum Seekers in the UK. Disability & Society. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2019.1639688.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zipfel, S., Pfaltz, M. C. and Schnyder, U. (Eds.). 2019. Refugee Mental Health. Lausanne: Frontiers Media. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/978-2-88945-840-0.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maria Pisani .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Grech, S., Pisani, M. (2022). Disability and Forced Migration: Critical Connections and the Global South Debate. In: Felder, F., Davy, L., Kayess, R. (eds) Disability Law and Human Rights. Palgrave Studies in Disability and International Development. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86545-0_10

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics