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The Plight of Refugees with Intellectual Disabilities

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Abdul Amir Najem, David Evangelista, President Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, Abdullah Najim, Yves Le Lostecque, European Commission, Head of Sport Unit, MEP Bogdan Wenta, Alexander de Chalus, Policy Officer UN Refugee Agency, William Gaillard, Senior Advisor, Burson-Marsteller L-R:

Special Olympics Europe Eurasia convened a round table to focus on the plight of refugees with intellectual disabilities. The event was held at the Brussels office of PR agency Burson-Marsteller. Among the 65.6 million people displaced around the world, it is estimated that 7.7 million have disabilities, with around half a million having an intellectual disability (ID). Refugees with ID are a highly vulnerable group. The panel, which included representatives from the UN Refugee Agency, the European Parliament and EU Commission, heard from Iraqi born Abdullah Najim (18) and his father Abdul Amir Najem. They abandoned strife-torn Baghdad nine years ago after Abdullah was kidnapped and his father forced to pay a ransom. The Najem family since found a new home and acceptance in Cyprus through Special Olympics & sports. Abdullah competed at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. The panel agreed that more work needs to be done to explore the issues facing refugees with ID & finding new solutions.

About Me:

Head of Communications, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia