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Every day around the world, people are displaced from their country of birth, are labeled as “refugees,” and are relocated to refugee camps run by the Office of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The most fortunate refugees live in camps for a decade or less before relocating to a country offering refuge. Others may live in camps for 20 years or more before resettlement. Some never leave the camps. Many reports from the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledge that refugees with disabilities are at a higher risk of human rights abuses (UNHCR 2010; WHO 2005). However, the identities of this displaced and vulnerable population are often obscured by clinical checklists, protocols, and emergency refugee toolkits. In this paper I outline the relevant literature as it relates to refugees with disabilities. I then describe the theoretical frameworks that inform my perspectives while engaging in such work. Then, I highlight the qualitative and ethnographic methods used in gathering and analyzing data. Following the methods is the results section that is composed mainly of participant responses categorized by significant themes that arose from the data. I conclude the paper with a discussion of the numerous identities enacted by participants, the implications for people who experience multiple intersectional oppressions and their ability to lead self-determined lives.


This article was posted to the Case Western Reserve University School of Law Scholarly Commons (institutional repository) and is re-posted here at the request of the author.