ECRE has published a legal note providing an intersectional analysis of the rights of refugees and asylum applicants with disabilities.

The note aims to present challenges associated with the nature and the application of Article 26 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU), which stipulates that the EU recognises and respects the rights of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration, and participation in the life of the community. The note also analyses the potential for a more protective interpretation of the current legal standards within the EU and the international legal framework. It focuses on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which has been ratified by all EU Member States and the EU itself, in order to identify relevant guarantees for asylum applicants and refugees with disabilities, and in connection with the content of Article 26 CFREU. Finally, it examines the relevant guarantees against discrimination as identified by the CRPD Committee in its interpretation of Article 5 CRPD and provides an overview of the applicability of Article 21 CFREU in situations involving unequal access to rights for refugees and asylum applicants.

The note concludes that litigation advancing the rights of asylum applicants and refugees with disabilities is necessary to ensure compliance with existing standards, to challenge discriminatory perceptions, policies, and practices and to promote specialised protection. Finally, the note indicates that, while refugees and asylum applicants’ experience is often discussed in respect of their vulnerability, rights-based litigation can shift that perception to focus on their dignity, itself a Union founding value and a Charter right.