Migration and Disability in South Africa

Prepared by Edward Govere and Jo Vearey on behalf of MiCoSA (Migration and Coronavirus in Southern Africa Group) in collaboration with the IOM team: Lily Sanya, Sibuko Dinake, Wambui Gititu, Teenage Rapatsa and Anisa Ibrahim

This project and resulting brief consisted of 39 semi-structured key informant interviews with those who have direct experience in working with migrants with disabilities. COVID-19 restrictions meant that migrants with disabilities themselves were not interviewed, although the project included a photojournalism insight into their lives and experiences.

Conclusions included that migrants with disabilities are not a homogenous group but that across the board, disabilities do heighten challenges that all migrants face. There is a shortage of reliable data regarding migrants with disabilities in South Africa, and specifically about their experiences during COVID-19. Policies for supporting such migrants are lacking as well.

Next steps involve working directly alongside migrants with disabilities and across sectors to generate and use accurate data to inform policymaking. Disability policies and programming must be migration-aware and inclusive of migrant voices.

About MiCoSA
The Migration and Coronavirus in Southern Africa Coordination Group (MiCoSA) is hosted by the Migration and Health Project Southern Africa (maHp) at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), Wits University,
Johannesburg. MiCoSA is an informal network of migrant-led organisations, non-governmental organisations, international organisations, civil society, activists, lawyers, researchers, government officials and policy advisors.
Through an online platform and virtual meetings, MiCoSA brings together national and SADC regional partners who are concerned with the health and well-being of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants during the current
Coronavirus pandemic. To date, MiCoSA has over 150 members; to join this network, please email coronavirusmigration+join@googlegroups.com

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Elizabeth Hampson

I am a masters student of public policy at the University of Edinburgh, hoping to work on refugee and immigration policy after my degree. I have been an artist my entire life, and continue to pursue it through learning as many craft skills as I can afford. I hope you enjoy my musings on various topics!