Disabled Migrants in Bulgaria

Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., are seen during a new leg of their travel in Esquipulas

Persons with disabilities make up around 15 % of the global population, and comprise a significant minority of refugees and migrants. The same applies for Bulgaria. Statistically to look, lots of refugees and migrants have fled their home countries due to the continuous conflicts with civil wars that never ceased to stop. Most of them have fled from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and some countries from North Africa. One can speculate that around 3.5 to 5 million of those who are displaced are displaced becoming into refugees/migrants. All those that have become displaced/refugees/migrants often experience to have a forced migration and most of  them that are disabled have experienced a migratory journey with poverty transitioning, stripped of family/support and survival being compromised due to environmental and structural factors. Even though, some of them are unable to flee leaving behind in their home country due to the difficulty to make movements without having any support/assistance.

Despite the scale of forced human movement regarding of their disability, the camps for all refugees/migrants especially was not at all equipped to provide the necessary needs for health care, educational purposes and so on. Witnessing to see the whole picture, it is related to the facts that many usually have issues faced with discriminations. The disabled refugees/migrants normally hide in their rooms and never show up to use the services provided at the camps due to the shame a single family feels. Being ashamed of the disability should never be presented because showing the person’s disability is to portray the real identity related with the culture. Being disabled is a true identity and that’s the beauty of it! No pity should be attached for it.

Cultures, the refugees/migrants that possess coming from Afghanistan normally experience a total transition with shock due to the lack of education and the lack of basic understanding to have regarding of what it means to have the right to health care, educational formality to study and understanding the concept of disability rights. The issues are tantamount and all have difficulties to project in knowing where they are as Bulgaria is not yet like the West of Europe. The country is not yet open to diversity and inclusion to have despite of different nationalities, cultures and religions. Discrimination and deprivation of rights are the obstacles they constantly have faced including the disabled. All displaced people including the refugees and migrants have shown to experience fear, untold tragedies, violence, death and all have shown signs of Post-Traumatic Disorder (PSTD). Most have arrived in Bulgaria are under 18 years old and traveled all by themselves without parents being presented. The camps in the capital of Sofia lack to provide the psychological therapies to the migrants due to the lack of professional psychologists.

Even though, Bulgaria has signed to some aspects accordingly to provide to the migrants asylum but it has not ratified officially the UN Convention on Migrants’ Rights.  The situation is pretty much political. Regarding of human rights framework and to the international law, it is laid down with obligations which all States are bound to respect all citizens within the State’s jurisdiction. This means that all migrants, regardless of their status, are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. It also applies for all migrants under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The country which I speak here about should start to implement the UN Convention on Migrants’ Rights into their local stature and start respecting the cores stated about migrants’ rights especially for the disabled displaced/refugees and migrants. All deserve to have equal respect with equal treatment and protections being provided.

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