Every December 10, we observe Human Rights Day. This day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR is a milestone proclaiming the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
This year’s UN Human Rights Day theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The UN emphasizes access to health and specifically the vaccine injustice through unfair vaccine distribution as one of the most important priorities of the campaign.
During the course of the pandemic, human rights have been severely diminished. Persons with disabilities have been among the groups the most impacted by the pandemic, because of inequalities and discrimination-, especially when it comes to access to health.
Intersectional and multiple forms of discrimination have also highly impacted persons with disabilities discriminated on several grounds such as their age, gender identity, sexual orientation and ethnicity. For example, Roma with disabilities, older persons with disabilities and LGBTI persons with disabilities have been impacted in different ways by the pandemic. Women and girls with disabilities have also been particularly disadvantaged with data showing that they were more likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19 comparing to other women.
Human Rights Report 2021: The impact of COVID19 on persons with disabilities
EDF has published a report assessing the impact that COVID-19 has had in the early stages of the pandemic on persons with disabilities living in the European Union. We observed the devastating effect that the pandemic has had on the population of Europe and on Europe’s most marginalised people. EU and European countries have largely failed to include persons with disabilities in their response to the pandemic, both within Europe and in their global response.
The report also highlighted how multiple discrimination impacted differently different communities of persons with disabilities:
- Women with disabilities were more likely to be hospitalised and die from COVID-19 than other women; they were also more likely to become victims of violence during lockdown and less likely to report the crime, receive support as victims and have access to justice.
- Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex persons were being negatively impacted by the virus itself, the healthcare system, and healthcare providers. LGBTI+ people with disabilities, and particularly trans people with disabilities, were being specifically targeted by triage policies because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or disability.
- Older persons with disabilities faced more negative bias, seclusion and neglect in institutions and residential care.
- Racialised persons faced denial of access to healthcare and police abuse during lockdown, particularly affecting racialised persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. Roma children, including those with disabilities, faced more difficulties in continuing their education since the beginning of the pandemic.
As the COVID pandemic continues to affect our lives, EDF will continue to work to ensure that no person is left behind.
Read the complete report:
Human Rights Report 2021: Impact of COVID19 on persons with disabilities