Months after the worldwide spring lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become clear how the lives and the rights of persons with disabilities were completely disregarded in the midst of the crisis. Seven global organisations advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities got together to call for urgent action by national governments and the international community, in order to safeguard the health of this category during the second wave of Covid-19. Spokespersons from all over the world (India, Nigeria, Nepal, the US, Belgium, New Zealand...) have been trying to draw policymakers' attention to the dramatic situation of the more vulnerable categories within the disability communities, such as children and homeless families.
According to the over 3,000 testimonies collected, there are four focal points to be considered:
- Institutional care facilities: instead of being places where residents would be protected from the virus, institutional care facilities became a worldwide hotspots for infections to overflow, both among the staff and the residents, often elderly people already suffering from underlying conditions.
- Strict lockdown: the strict lockdown rules to ensure social distancing made it impossible for caregivers to assist their patients, often unable to access basic goods, such as food, on their own.
- Human rights violations: during lockdown there was an increase in violence towards girls and women with disabilities, children with disabilities often could not continue their education online, homeless persons with disabilities were either detained or left on their own.
- Discriminatory triage: some persons with disabilities experienced discrimination in hospitals and were left unattended to because of their condition.