Asylum and Disabled People

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National Disabled Members 2003
9 July 2003

Conference is greatly concerned about how disabled people who are seeking asylum in the UK are treated. Disabled people, by virtue of society’s inaccessibility, face additional discrimination when seeking asylum. There is no evidence to show that the European Year of the Disabled Person has improved opportunities for disabled people seeking resettlement in the UK. Disabled people encounter barriers within European societies and across Europe; these are magnified for disabled asylum seekers, they experience double prejudice both as outsiders and as disabled people.

Examples of the barriers that exist include:

1)inaccessible transport from country of origin through Europe and within the UK;

2)support with access to information during transportation through European borders. For example, information that is available in various languages and accessible formats such as braille, large print and indigenous sign language;

3)lack of financial, practical and emotional support from within their own impoverished native communities seeking asylum;

4)unmet personal care needs, unsuitable housing and lack of aids is common.

Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to:

a)work with the National Executive Council to publicise the plight of disabled asylum seekers;

b)work with appropriate organisations to lobby the Home Office to ensure that disabled asylum seekers’ issues are not ignored and that proper funding is made available upon the disabled person’s arrival in the UK to support their access needs;

c)raise this issue with the Affiliated Political Fund Committee to ensure that UNISON’s views are brought to the attention of the Labour Government.