Charity or rights? The UN Refugee Compact at the intersection of disability and forced migration

Theresa Mair *



The article retraces the perspective on disabled refugees that is currently employed by United Nations’ refugee policies. Applying the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be’ approach, the recently adopted Global Compact on Refugees is analyzed with a focus on the position of disabled refugees therein. Taking the shift from the medical model to the social model of disability as a backdrop, this article tries to answer the question of whether disabled people are seen as recipients of charity or rights holders, and considers possible consequences for disabled refugees.

Keywords: Disability, forced migration, refugees, human rights, United Nations

Este ensayo trata de figurar la perspectiva de los refugiados discapacitados que actualmente trabajan en el marco de la política de refugiados de los Naciones Unidas. Utilizando la aproximación “What’s the Problem Represented to be”, el recientemente adoptado «Compact on Refugees» se analiza con un enfoque en la posición de refugiados discapacitados.
Usando el cambio desde el modelo médico hasta el modelo social de la discapacidad como trasfondo, el ensayo intenta responder la pregunta si las personas con discapacidad son vistas como receptores de caridad o como personas con derechos. Además trata de considerar posibles consecuencias para los refugiados discapacitados.

Palabras clave: Discapacidad, migración forzada, refugiados, derechos humanos, Naciones Unidas


* Theresa Mair holds a B.A. degree in Social Work and is currently drafting her thesis pursuing an M.A. degree in Intercultural Conflict Management at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. Her main research interests are critical migration studies, human rights and intersectional power relations.

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