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Inclusion Europe

The plight of Europe's disabled under coronavirus 

Coronavirus changed many things. But it highlights the ongoing segregation and discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities, especially in access to healthcare. Inclusion Europe’s director Milan Šveřepa wrote a reflection about the Coronavirus emergency.

Read more.

A similar article was also published in Czech – přečtěte si českou verzi článku

 

Situation in countries 

Finland: “We are concerned that in isolated cases, health restrictions may be based on factors other than the person's state of health.” Tukiliitto and FDUV are warning. Read more.

UK, England: "We are scared that if we go into hospital: We might not be supported to understand what is happening to us. We might not get equal treatment” Statement by People First, .pdf. 

Ireland: “'Deep concerns' about lack of reporting of Covid-19 deaths among people with intellectual disabilities." Read more.

Ireland: Covid-19 notification service for families of those living in disability centres. Read more.

Romania: "Residents with disabilities have become infected with COVID-19 after being hospitalized in the Deva County Hospital and the Hunedoara Hospital, and were discharged in residential centres without having been tested." (Centre for legal resources)

Slovakia: FRA’s report “Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in the EU – fundamental rights implications” on Slovakia addresses the lack of accessible official information on the coronavirus outbreak. As some activities for persons with disabilities had to be suspended, people with disabilities are being affected by the measures taken to contain the spread of the Covid-19 in the country. Read more.

OECD tracks measures in all countries. 

 

European Union

European Parliament resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Paragraph 12 “Expresses concern over whether the Member States are paying sufficient attention to the mental health implications of the crisis and calls for the organisation of an EU-wide mental health campaign that advises citizens on how to safeguard mental well-being in the present circumstances and on where to seek advice when needed;” 

 

Paragraph 13 “Calls for the measures adopted by the EU and by the Member States to respect the rights of persons with disabilities in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; stresses that particular attention should be given to equal access to healthcare, and ensuring that community-based care and support services, needed by persons with disabilities on a daily basis, are funded and well equipped and staffed; stresses also that public information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic should be accessible to the widest range of persons with disabilities, and that persons with disabilities should be included in all income protection measures;” 

 

Paragraph 36: “Insists that the Member States should give particular attention to equal access to healthcare, especially non-discrimination in access to medical treatment and urgent care, ensuring the rights of persons living in residential institutions, who are more at risk of infection, in particular the elderly and persons with disabilities, and ensuring that community-based care and support services, needed by these persons on a daily basis, are funded and well equipped and staffed, insists also that confinement measures should take into account the needs of persons with disabilities, that public information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic should be accessible to the widest range of persons with disabilities, and that persons with disabilities should be included in all income protection measures;” 

 

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is publishing reports tackling the implications of the coronavirus crisis on fundamental rights. The Agency is publishing reports on each member state, and it contains information about how people with disabilities are being affected by the current crisis. See all the reports here.  

Council of Europe  

Commissioner for Human Rights comments: “Many persons with disabilities rely on the support of others in their daily activities and the continuity and safety of such support must be guaranteed during the crisis. People living in institutions or detention face a high risk of infection and should be afforded protective measures.”  

European Committee of Social Rights: Statement (.pdf) of interpretation on the right to protection of health in times of pandemic: “Committee recalls that the right to protection of health includes the right of access to healthcare and that access to healthcare must be ensured to everyone without discrimination. This implies that healthcare in a pandemic must be effective and affordable to everyone and that groups at particularly high risk, such as homeless persons, persons living in poverty, older persons, persons with disabilities, persons living in institutions, persons detained in prisons, and persons with an irregular migration status must be adequately protected by the healthcare measures put in place.” 

United Nations 

COVID-19 and Human Rights: “Discrimination must have no place in our response to the threat [Coronavirus] poses.” 

“The situation of persons with disabilities, especially those with underlying health conditions or in institutions, is particularly grave. It may be harder for persons with disabilities to take prudent steps to protect themselves. The outbreak threatens the independence of persons with disabilities who live in their own homes but depend on outside support. They may face difficulty accessing necessities, food and medication. Continuity of support throughout the crisis must be guaranteed.” Report, .pdf. 

Other

European Network of National Human Rights Defendersstatement: “3. Measures cannot have any discriminatory impacts. Government measures in response to COVID-19 must protect the rights of all people and cannot discriminate. The impacts of measures on the human rights of particular groups, including women, older people, people with disabilities, children, migrants, people seeking asylum and people living in poverty or homelessness, must be assessed beforehand. Should people belonging to such groups be disproportionally affected, mitigation measures need to be put in place. This is required by the prohibition of discrimination.” 

What is happening in your country or organisation? 
Write to comms@inclusion-europe.org to tell us. 
We will include the information in next week’s briefing. 
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