New European Human Rights Report highlights the failures of the EU and European countries to include persons with disabilities in response to the pandemic
The fifth edition of the European Disability Forum (EDF) Human Rights report presents the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on persons with disabilities in Europe. This report highlights how the EU and European countries have failed to include persons with disabilities in response to the pandemic. This failure has paved the way for a variety of human rights violations including the right to life, health, information, accessibility, equality and non-discrimination, education and work.
This report demonstrated the grave situation of the most marginalised and disadvantaged persons with disabilities, facing discrimination. This also shows that the situation in 2020 could be improved by the advocacy and involvement of persons with disabilities and their organisations. Through this report the EDF are urging EU and national decision makers to acknowledge and implement recommendations which are outlined below.
Safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies is one of the most important recommendation in order to investigate the impact of governments response on persons with disabilities. States must adopt measures to ensure systematic involvement of all persons with disabilities through their organisations in all decision which affect them. This requires providing adequate funding to organisations of persons with disabilities.
Another recommendation is that to invest in a disability inclusive process of preparedness to prevent the devasting impacts of future crises and ensure inclusive crisis response. These should include accessible public health announcement and emergency communication. One must also ensure that specific resources are allocated to make mainstream services inclusive and accessible for example vaccination programs and emergency contact.
Another recommendation is that states should certify that all data collected is disregarded by age, gender and disability. Persons with disability living in institutions should be included in all data gathered as well. Additionally, adequate budget and investment must be allocated to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and their inclusion in society.
Furthermore, one should ensure that accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities is found at all levels of governance, service-provisions and society. States must ensure that disability mainstream support services are available and accessible to all persons with disabilities and are recognised as essential services. Another recommendation made was to end institutionalisation by immediately investing in independent living, fostering transition from institutions to community-based support services.
States must ensure that a human rights-based approach is implemented in order to ensure equality and non-discrimination in legislation and practice; one must protect persons with disabilities from violence, abuse and neglect. States must ensure continuous independent human rights monitoring and guaranteeing free and informed consent prior to vaccination. Lastly one must ensure the protection of women and girls’ with disabilities against any sort of violence and abuse and provide maintenance of accessible support services.
To conclude this report outlined how all these actions are necessary in light of the EU and European states commitment to the CRPD to establish that Europe is build back into a more inclusive world following the covid 19 pandemic and be prepared for future crises.