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Disability and forced migration1 

Disability and forced migration1
Disability and forced migration1

Rebecca Yeo

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date: 07 May 2021

Forced migration and disability often are ignored in the research literature. In spite of the equalities legislation for the rights of disabled people, often the responses to disabled migrants are not helpful. In theory, the UK’s National Health Service is founded on the basic principle of universalism. The theoretical hegemonic commitment to universal human rights has often been most overtly broken in relation to migrant rights. In contrast to official condemnation of racism and disablism, successive governments of different political persuasions have continued to, and indeed competed to, prove their hostility towards migrants, whether they are disabled or not. The British asylum system itself is disabling by design. Some people are disabled on arrival in the UK; others become disabled later on. Disabled asylum seekers often describe the system as psychological torture. Therefore, ongoing mental distress can create difficulties in further adjustment, thus compounding problems. Using case histories, this chapter illustrates some of the difficulties faced by migrants with disabilities. A fundamental systemic change is needed to address the injustice encountered by disabled asylum seekers.

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