Disability Inclusion and Accessibility

Around the world, 17.6 million people with disabilities are estimated to be forcibly displaced. People with disabilities have a set of vested rights, but immigration pathways and processes often fail to meet even the most basic standards of accessibility and inclusion. Through its Disability Inclusion and Accessibility Program, IRAP aims to work alongside experts from both the immigrant rights and disability justice movements to ensure that forcibly displaced people with disabilities have equal access to pathways to safety and lasting refuge. Informed by the experiences and priorities of directly impacted people, we are working to leverage existing legal protections and expand legal protections for people with disabilities seeking safety

Advancing Equitable Access to Pathways and Protections

IRAP is committed to making legal resources and services more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities seeking safety. To make access to pathways to safety and protections more equitable, IRAP and its partners are delivering legal services and developing legal resources informed by, and tailored to, the experiences and priorities of forcibly displaced people with disabilities. In particular those with intersecting identities including women and girls with disabilities, indigenous people with disabilities, and deaf persons, people with intellectual disabilities, and people with psychosocial disabilities This includes, but is not limited to, training officials and advocates in contact with forcibly displaced people to recognize and uphold the rights of people with disabilities; creating legal resources in accessible formats to meet requirements of people with sensory, physical, intellectual, and psychosocial disabilities; developing guidance that lays out legal options for forcibly displaced people with disabilities; and intervening through policy advocacy, communications advocacy, and impact litigation to challenge discriminatory or harmful practices that prevent forcibly displaced people with disabilities from exercising their rights along their journey to safety. 

Fostering Meaningful Participation in Decision-Making and Advocacy

In addition to upholding and applying existing legal rights and protections for forcibly displaced people with disabilities, there is a significant need and opportunity for policy change. Given their indispensable expertise, people with disabilities with lived experience of forced displacement have unparalleled potential to effect positive change in policy advocacy in local, national, and global decision-making fora. To ensure the meaningful participation of forcibly displaced people with disabilities in decision-making and advocacy spaces, IRAP will develop capacity-building and training opportunities with directly impacted people, and seek to partner with community-based and refugee-led organizations to amplify our collective impact.

Promoting Inclusive and Impact-Led Narratives

Forcibly displaced people with disabilities are often invisibilized in mainstream media, or portrayed with harmful tropes that undermine their agency. People with disabilities, including those with lived experience of forced displacement, have unique interests, skills, experiences, and stories to tell. IRAP works alongside clients and partners to amplify forcibly displaced storytellers with disabilities, in an effort to champion narratives that center the dignity, power, and depth of experience of people with disabilities seeking safety. 

Investing in Infrastructure to Welcome All

IRAP is prioritizing disability inclusion and accessibility in all aspects of our work alongside clients, staff, partners, and supporters, including developing and procuring hardware and software that makes information more accessible to people with different disabilities, operationalizing human resources practices that promote the equitable treatment and meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities, and optimizing our physical facilities and emergency response processes with a liberatory approach. We will share this learning to other refugee organizations and disability rights organizations globally to ensure that the physical and virtual infrastructure of our movement is inclusive and welcoming to all.