Report on persons with disabilities in the context of internal displacement

14 May 2020
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
To the HRC at its 44th session, June-July 2020


The report examines the specific experiences of persons with disabilities in the context of displacement and analyses the obstacles to the equal enjoyment of their rights and recommends actions to ensure inclusive protection, assistance and durable solutions.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 15 per cent of the world’s population have a disability. Applying this estimate to the 45.7 million persons internally displaced worldwide by conflict and violence at the end of 2019 (as estimated by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre) means that about 6.8 million of them could have a disability. Millions more are displaced by disasters and the adverse effects of climate change every year, so this figure could be much higher.

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Disability is understood as a social construct resulting from the interaction between persons with actual or perceived impairments and attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers. Persons with disabilities are not a homogeneous group; they include a diverse range of persons with different impairments and support needs that intersect with their age, gender and other identities.

Persons with disabilities may face discrimination before and during displacement and in the search for durable solutions. Internally displaced persons with disabilities encounter physical, environmental and societal barriers to accessing specific displacement-related information, humanitarian assistance and services, including education, employment, health care and social protection, and barriers more generally to the full enjoyment of their human rights, including the right to participate in society on an equal basis with others and without discrimination. Internally displaced persons with disabilities often face multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination based on other grounds, such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion, group affiliation and displacement itself.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur aims to develop a better understanding of the diverse experiences of displaced persons with disabilities, which is required to effectively protect and promote their rights; empower them to become active stakeholders in the decision processes that affect them; provide inclusive and accessible humanitarian assistance and services; and better support the achievement of durable solutions.

The Special Rapporteur calls for States and other humanitarian and development actors to shift from awareness of disability to a proactive human rights-based disability inclusion strategy to manage internal displacement, and makes a number of recommendations to States and all relevant humanitarian and development actors.

View the feature story about the Special Rapporteur’s report.

Inputs received

In January 2020, the Special Rapporteur issued a call for Member States, civil society actors, particularly organizations of persons with disabilities, humanitarian and development organizations, national human rights institutions and other stakeholders to submit inputs to the report.

Download the questionnaires: English | Français | Español

All submissions are published below, unless the submitter clearly indicated that they did not wish to have their input be made publicly available when submitting their response.


Civil Society