Disability, displacement and disaster resilience: ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities in situations of forced displacement and statelessness
In 2023, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) collaborated to investigate the potential differences in preparedness and participation levels of forcibly displaced and stateless persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction (DRR) compared with host communities. This collaborative effort aimed to explore how the rights of persons with disabilities in situations of forced displacement and statelessness could be better promoted through DRR by assessing whether forcibly displaced and stateless persons with disabilities:
- had access to personal disaster preparedness plans and the means to evacuate before a disaster compared with non-displaced populations with disabilities
- reported varying levels of awareness about national DRR plans in their host countries compared with non-displaced populations with disabilities
- participated to different extents in community disaster management and risk reduction processes (e.g. DRR forums, emergency response teams) compared with non-displaced populations with disabilities
- engaged at varying levels in community structures, such as organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and self-help groups compared with non-displaced populations with disabilities.
The study leveraged existing data collected through the 2023 Global Survey on Persons with Disabilities and Disasters, which involved analysing responses from 1,304 displaced and stateless persons with disabilities, representing almost a quarter of the survey’s total respondents. An extensive desk review of existing literature related to displacement, disability, climate change and disasters was also carried out. This advocacy brief was developed based on the findings of this collaborative study, which are presented in the following section.
This brief includes a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing the protection and resilience of displaced and stateless persons in disaster situations. These recommendations are derived from both the desk review and the insights shared by survey respondents.