Two Ethiopians, one sat in a wheel chair and one stood behind

Disability Inclusion of Refugees in Ethiopia and Recommendations for Future Practice

This policy brief presents the findings and recommendations from a study, on disability inclusion for refugees in Ethiopia. The study examines the experiences, protection needs, barriers to, and opportunities for providing protection for refugees living with disabilities in Ethiopia, and ways to institutionalise better practices of inclusion.

Persons with disabilities are often programmatically ‘invisible’ in refugee assistance programmes due to a lack of data and a range of individual, institutional, attitudinal and environmental barriers. Data on gender, age, or type of disability are generally unavailable from the government, UNHCR, or its implementing partners.

Refugees with disabilities receive disproportionately less aid and services such as sanitary facilities, education or food, and their inclusion in protection programmes is stratified by individual, institutional, environmental, and attitudinal factors.

Study Objectives

  • To understand the different lived experiences of refugees with disabilities in Ethiopia, and to understand what gaps remain in our understanding around current protection and inclusion practice
  • To map the current state of play regarding policy and programmes focused on the protection of refugees with disabilities in Ethiopia
  • In the context of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’s (CRRF) commitment to a ‘whole of society’ approach, to understand how disability inclusion could be mainstreamed to support displacement-affected communities more widely

The study was conducted through a combination of desk review of academic and policy works as well as interviews with staff members of humanitarian organisations and disability-focused civil society organisations and with refugees with disabilities within camps located in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, and Addis Ababa.

Despite the significant barriers identified in this report, there are also several key opportunities for greater inclusion of refugees with disabilities within displacement-affected communities in Ethiopia. The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework are all opportunities to improve inclusion of refugees with disabilities in Ethiopia.

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Image source: © Anteneh, HelpAge Ethiopia

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