Reception of Asylum Seekers with Disabilities in Europe
Forced Migration Review 35 (2010) 29
Posted: 3 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2010
Full and effective participation in society by people with disabilities implies the obligation to provide them with specific protection. EU Directive 2003/9 specifies that national legislation must take into account the specific situation of vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities, with regard to material reception conditions. In all cases, their specific needs should be individually assessed. This means that EU Member States should provide “medical or other necessary assistance” to asylum seekers with particular needs. In the case of disabled asylum seekers, this is all the more necessary when they are processed in administrative reception centres which are often not adapted to their specific needs.
Although the Directive makes it an obligation on Member States to take into account specific situations with regard not only to disabled persons but also minors, the elderly, pregnant women and victims of violence, Member States enjoy a wide margin of interpretation in the implementation of the obligation. Although it respects the principle of institutional and procedural autonomy, the text of the Directive could have gone further in determining the content of the obligation itself. It therefore leaves national legislators with the duty of determining the extent of the “other necessary (assistance)”.
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