Resolution on COVID 19 and the rights of persons with disabilities

Adopted by EDF General Assembly 2020

Calling on the European Union, its members states and countries in the European Region to ensure full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their efforts to combat the COVID 19 pandemic

  • In light of the fact that there is a global health pandemic which is affecting every area of society and the economy, with levels of death and infection rates continuing to increase daily;
  • In light of the fact that 15% of the total population are persons with disabilities; and that the pandemic itself, and all of the measures taken to combat it are having a disproportionate effect on persons with disabilities and their families;
  • Recognising that the European Union (EU) as a regional organisation, all EU Member States and most European countries outside the EU have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and are thus bound by the all obligations enshrined within it;
  • Recalling that the CRPD imposes obligations on all its states parties to undertake to ensure and promote the full implementation and enjoyment of all human rights
  • and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability, including accessibility (Article 9), the right to health (article 25), the right to life (article 10), rights in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies (article 11), the right to information (article 21), the rights to freedom from violence and degrading treatment (articles 15 and 16), the right to an adequate standard of living and social protection (article 28) and the right to involvement and participation (article 4.3);
  • Recalling, that under the CRPD, States parties have to monitor implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities, including by the collection of disaggregated data (articles 31 and 33 CRPD);
  • Recalling the Inter-agency standing committee (IASC) Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) considerations on disability during the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Recognising that the EU and all EU member states, as well as other European countries, have committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 sustainable development goals, including on good health and wellbeing (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), and reduced inequalities (SDG 10);
  • Acknowledging that the COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in the deaths of a disproportionate number of inhabitants of residential institutions and group homes, where older persons and persons with disabilities live;
  • Taking into account that support services for persons with disabilities have been closed, lost funding and lost staff, almost overnight, leaving persons with disabilities and their families with no support.
  • Taking into account the lack of personal protective equipment available to persons with disabilities, their support network and family members, and service providers;
  • In view of the fact that persons with disabilities may be obliged to continue to self-isolate for a longer period of time than the rest of the population, if they also have pre-existing health conditions;
  • Recognising that persons with disabilities who are living in segregated institutions, including institutions and psychiatric hospitals, and are obliged to isolate in their private room or in the institution are more at risk of violence and abuses, including forced treatment;
  • Recognising the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on women, including women and girls with disabilities and women caring for others, and in particular the increased risks of poverty, violence and abuse and the lack of adequate measures and inclusive and accessible responses to protect their them;
  • Recognising that children and students with disabilities have more difficulty accessing quality inclusive education than other children and students, and that exclusion may worsen during the pandemic;
  • Recognising that many persons with disabilities have lost their job as a consequence of the lockdown measures adopted and because it is impossible for them to work from home due to inaccessible working arrangements, lack of necessary resources and support, and digital illiteracy which affects women with disabilities in particular;
  • Recognising that COVID-19 will not only devastate Europe’s society and economy but is also set to wreak havoc globally, and low and middle income countries will be in a very vulnerable position to manage the pandemic and ensuing crisis and to protect the lives and dignity of persons with disabilities, which will lead to widespread impoverishment of persons with disabilities and their families;
  • Recognising widespread inaccessibility in our environment, and that the extra costs persons with disabilities face in their daily lives have become even higher during the COVID-19 crisis (due, for example, to cancelling assistance in transportation systems, increased consumption of telephone other communication means);

The European Disability Forum and its members call on the EU institutions, the Member States, all European countries to:

Ensure the response to COVID-19 is compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The EU and the Council of Europe must prevent inequalities and discrimination, in any forms, made on the ground of disability, health condition, gender, age and other grounds or status, such as race, migratory status, gender identity and sexual orientation; and denounce situations firmly when discrimination happens. This should be carefully monitored within the EU and the rest of Europe, but also in all EU partner countries around the globe.

Involve persons with disabilities in the COVID 19 response and recovery

  • Persons with disabilities, through their representative organisations  (DPOs) are the best placed to advise authorities on the specific requirements and most appropriate solutions when providing accessible and inclusive services; this applies both in Europe and globally.
  • All COVID-19’s containment and mitigation activities (not only those directly related to disability inclusion) must be planned and implemented with the active participation of persons with disabilities and DPOs – this applies to community and population wide initiatives as well as to individual situations.
  • Financial measures to combat COVID 19 and to implement the COVID 19 response and recovery must include continued funding and investment in the capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities to fulfil their support and advocacy role.

Make public health communication accessible

Every person has the right to immediate, clear and correct information on the pandemic and the measures they and their families should follow. This includes information provided though public websites, mobile applications, information in print, via TV broadcast and pre-recorded video, through emergency services and dedicated hotlines for the pandemic, as well as any information provided in person. It is particularly important to ensure persons with disabilities in segregated or institutional settings have access to information, human contact and communication during this time.

As a general rule:

  • All information should be provided via multiple means of communication (for example, in addition to information provided though websites, it should be provided also through automatic phone lines, videos, leaflets, etc.) and be perceivable through more than one sensory channel (e.g. text and audio)
  • All emergency messages must be clear, easy to understand and action-based (for example, stay inside, do not come into close contact with others, etc.)
  • All persons, must be able to access emergency information and communications irrespective of their geographical location and residence in the EU. Therefore, particular attention must be paid to ensure this for persons living in rural and peripheral areas of the Union, as well for persons on the move. In this context, the European Union should support all Member States to ensure a harmonised approach to accessibility of emergency information and communications across the EU.
  • Information tailored to the specific needs and concerns of persons with disabilities and their families should be made available by public websites and other information channels (for example, answers to disability-related frequently asked questions on public websites on covid19), considering the vast diversity of persons with disabilities, including persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with multiple disabilities, such as for example deafblind persons.
  • Public websites, mobile applications and a digital content (including documents uploaded on websites) that provide relevant information to citizens must comply with accessibility standards (e.g. the European Standard EN 301 549 v3.1.1 or WCAG 2.1) – this is required by EU Law: Directive (EU) 2016/2102.
  • All digital and print text information must also be available in easy to read format.
  • Emergency numbers and hotlines set up for the pandemic (both 112 and specific phone numbers) must be fully accessible through total conversation and real-time-text services, including relay services for deaf and hard of hearing people (see EDF toolkit on electronic communications Part 2.12 for comprehensive recommendations on accessibility of emergency communications).
  • Broadcasted and pre-recorded video emergency information must be accessible to persons with disabilities.

As an absolute minimum, the following should be ensured:

  • Both live captioning and sign interpretation must be provided, as well as audio description whenever appropriate
  • Sign interpretation must be provided by skilled professionals (and not avatars ) to make sure crucial elements of the information such as sense of urgency are properly transmitted and understood
  • Closed captions should be adjustable in format and colour contrast (for example, adjusting font size can make it accessible for persons with low vision)
  • Pictograms are used to ensure information is accessible for viewers with intellectual disabilities or who might not understand the language.
  • See EDF toolkit audiovisual media Part 2.5 for more detailed recommendations on accessibility of emergency broadcast.
  • Digital technologies such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, as well as software must also comply with accessibility standards of EN301 549 v.3.1.1 to ensure that persons with disabilities can access vital information through these technologies.
  • Assistive technologies must be available and affordable to persons with disabilities who rely on their use to access vital emergency information and communications.

Issue and enforce non-discriminatory ethical medical guidelines

  • All steps taken by health authorities and healthcare staff, in all situations, must be carried out in line with binding human rights standards of equality and non-discrimination. Guidelines must be free of prejudices or biases affecting those who are considered ‘different’ and therefore of less value and whose health or life is thought to be expendable and less of a priority.
  • Persons with disabilities who require healthcare for COVID-19 must receive treatment on an equal basis with others and, under no circumstances, are to be excluded or side-lined when accessing health or social services.
  • Persons with disability should not be subjected to protracted periods of self-isolation or confinement purely based on their disability.

Ensure accessible, inclusive, hygienic health services and other facilities

The full right to health of persons with disabilities, including during the COVID pandemic should be assured.  As a pre-requisite, hygiene measures and healthcare services should be available and accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Financial barriers to access healthcare should be removed. Provision of healthcare should be the responsibility of public authorities during this pandemic, and equal access should be ensured to all.
  • Facilities and services involved in providing quarantine should be fully accessible to persons with disabilities, including full accessibility of information. Sign language interpreters, guide interpreters for deafblind people, personal assistants and all others that support persons with disabilities in emergency, healthcare and residential care settings should be given the same health and safety protections as other health care workers dealing with COVID 19 and should be recognised as essential workers.
  • Healthcare services and support provided to the most marginalised groups, including homeless people and refugees should be accessible.
  • Sterilisers and other hygiene materials should be equally available for persons with disabilities. They should be in an accessible place, there should be accessible information to point to its location, and the mechanism to dispense the product should be accessible.
  • Government should ensure that everyone has access to basic protective items such as masks and gels or basic medicines such as painkillers at a reasonable price, such as through price control.
  • All entry points to health facilities (including those which may have been deemed ‘secondary’ entrances and which are, in fact, the only accessible approach) should be treated with the same hygiene protocols as all other parts of the service. This includes cleaning handrails of ramps or staircases, accessibility knobs for doors, etc.
  • The EU should help its members and partner countries who lack personal protection kits. This equipment should be for frontline employees such as healthcare staff, social workers, law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities and disability service providers etc.
  • Governments must ensure all health services in emergency situations promote and respect the human rights of persons with disabilities, and the rights to autonomy, privacy, confidentiality, informed consent, universal access to information and communication, non-discrimination and freedom of choice.
  • Training programmes and curricula for healthcare personnel, including for emergency staff, as well as training periods, should include courses on the health and human rights of persons with disabilities which are comprehensive, mandatory and gender-sensitive, taking into account in particular violence against women.
  • Health care workers should be informed about the risks facing people with pre-existing conditions which leave them vulnerable to respiratory problems.
  • Instructions to health care personnel should highlight equal dignity for people with disabilities, especially that communication should be done directly with the person with disabilities whenever possible. They should include safeguards against disability-based discrimination.  Rapid awareness-raising of key medical personnel is essential to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind or systematically deprioritised in the response to the crisis.
  • Persons with disabilities should not be left alone without treatment or segregated into separate facilities, where healthcare for COVID-19 is often of a lower standard. Public and private institutions, as well as DPOs, should supervise health service provision for persons with disabilities in order to ensure equal access and that the quality of the services delivered meets their specific health needs.
  • Consideration must be given to situations where people with disabilities live alone, or where their support network (including in the case of children with disability) are hospitalised. The solution must not involve institutionalisation of these people left without carers.

Invest in provision of services and support and guarantee the European solidarity needed to ensure strengthening of essential services

  • There must be urgent investment in health and social care systems, which are consistently underfunded in Europe.  Increased funding is essential and urgent to ensure they can meet the increased costs associated with the crisis, including medicines, protective materials and staff, in a way that is inclusive of everyone.
  • The COVID-19 crisis amplifies the worsening conditions of persons with disabilities. Specific complementary support to persons with disabilities and their support networks is need to avoid a worsening of their living conditions in the post-crisis period.
  • Specific support for people assisting persons with disabilities, such as personal assistants, is needed. They have to be granted adequate social protection during their working time, and in retirement. 

Ensure marginalised and isolated people are not left without human contact, essential goods, or support

  • EU guidelines should ensure that EU countries focus support on particularly marginalised groups, such as persons with disabilities and their families/support network. They need to make sure they receive all the support they may need.
  • All states need to take measures to ensure isolated people are not left without human contact and have access to essential goods and support during and after the lockdown measures.

In particular, countries should: 

  • Put in place flexible mechanisms to authorise persons with disabilities (including their support persons) to leave their homes during mandatory quarantines, for short periods and in a safe way, when they experience difficulty with home confinement. From a global point of view, confinement measures for persons with disabilities have to be limited to the necessary. They cannot be stricter than for the rest of the population.
  • Ensure that mobility and business restrictions do not disproportionately impact persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility. Adaptations should be introduced: these can include, for example, specific opening hours to persons with disabilities and older persons or priority delivery services.
  • Ensure that psychological support programmes, developed in the context of COVID 19 for the general public are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Guarantee that the necessary provisions to ensure social distancing in public transportation will not create barriers for persons with disabilities.
  • Develop measures to reduce isolation of people with disabilities in residential care facilities and other closed settings, especially when visits are banned and social distancing recommended, including through the provision of access to internet and phone connections.
  • Provide support to incarcerated persons with disabilities and the services they rely on.
  • Take immediate measures in case of food or hygienic products shortage to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left out and receive essential goods and services as a matter of priority.
  • Conduct community outreach activities to identify and rescue persons with disabilities deprived of their liberty or ill-treated at home or within communities and provide adequate support to them in a manner that respects their human rights.
  • Authorities should take measures to drastically reduce the number of people in residential institutions and psychiatric units and institutions: it is not only an infringement on the right to independent living, but they are also settings with higher likelihood of infection. Authorities need to put in place a concrete assessment of the service and community based support needs of persons with disabilities and offer a  significant improvement in community based services, making sure that discharged people have necessary supports to live independently and be included in the community.

In relation to the right to health of people with disabilities living in closed-setting (including residential institutions, psychiatric hospitals, prisons, refugee centres, centres for homeless people, etc.) states must:

  • Introduce proactive testing and well-resourced preventive measures for groups of persons with disabilities, including those living in institutions, in prisons, or homeless people, and those who are more susceptible to infection due to respiratory or other health complications. These measures should extend to their support networks and in no way further restrain freedom or impact their dignity. Ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to treatment for COVID 19 or for other health and rehabilitation needs.
  • Urgently ensure that strict hygiene and infection prevention measures are guaranteed and that private and accessible means of communication between residents and their external support network are available.
  • Authorities should conduct visits and carefully monitor the activities of closed-setting facilities to ensure that residents are not abandoned or are put in danger by staff shortages and absence. Residents should have access to information on their rights and they should have the means to report violations.

Strengthen support networks and provision of assistive devices

  • Earmark EU funding from the European Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative specifically to support community-based mainstream and disability support services.
  • Funding and practical solutions must be available to ensure that persons with disabilities are not negatively affected by the temporary loss of people from their support networks (including personal assistants, family, and specific professional services) through illness or indirect impact of COVID-19.
  • In light of new flexibility given to Member States on the use of Structural Investment Funds to fight COVID 19 and help with the economic recovery, ensure
  • that funds are not channeled away from activities to promote and support the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • Provide persons with disabilities and their support network with accessible information and guidance on what steps they can take in case their personal assistants, other professionals providing support become ill with COVID-19.
  • Provide an accessible hotline for disability services so that service users and people in the support network can communicate with government and raise concerns.
  • Designate providers of support services (including interpreters, disability support workers, repair and maintenance service workers of mobility aids, assistive devices, family carers and personal assistants) as ‘key workers’, or ‘essential workers’ who should continue to work and be provided with the personal protective equipment and instructions needed to minimise exposure and spread of infection, as well as be proactively tested for the virus on a priority basis. Workers should be allowed to travel to and from the workplace (both organisations or clients’ homes).
  • Urgently provide personal protection kits to persons with disabilities (including those in residential institutions and penitentiaries) and to members of their support network, including personal assistants and deafblind interpreters.
  • Support agencies providing disability services, and user-led organisations of persons with disabilities, in developing continuity plans, for situations in which the number of available staff may be reduced. This includes reducing bureaucratic recruitment barriers while still maintaining protection measures, such as background checks for disability support staff.
  • Invest in support services and ensure they can meet the increased costs associated with this crisis, including medicines, protective materials and overtime of staff, in a way that is inclusive of everyone in the affected population;
  • Ensure that support services have hygiene supplies and that strict hygiene and prevention measures are undertaken.
  • Similarly, services involved in the provision and repair of essential mobility aids and assistive devices must be prioritised.
  • Deafblind interpreters and support staff often need to be physically close to deafblind people– authorities must ensure they receive adequate personal protective equipment and that social isolation measures allow them to do their job.
  • Crisis and confinement measures will affect mental health and generate fear and anxiety; demonstrating solidarity and community support is important for all; therefore, helplines or support services for dealing with anxiety or other mental health issues must be established/strengthened and must to accessible to persons with disabilities.

Strengthen financial resources of persons with disabilities, now and in the future

  • Authorities need to put in place financial measures (within a broader-based economic stimulus package) to support persons with disabilities. These measures may include, but are not limited to, lump sum payments for qualifying individuals, tax relief measures, subsidies for goods or leniency for the payment of specific expenses and automatic extension of any soon-to-expire disability related entitlements.
  • Authorities must extend cash transfers and disability entitlements to all persons with disabilities officially registered that may not be eligible under regular circumstances, regardless of their current work status.
  • Authorities need to ensure that persons with disabilities and underlying health conditions can work from home, and if this is not possible due to the nature of the job for any other reason, they need to ensure special paid leave conditions that guarantee 100% of the employee’s income.
  • Persons with disabilities with underlying health conditions may need to stay at home for longer periods than average. Organisations and educational institutions must ensure that remote systems will be kept in place to ensure persons with disabilities can still work and study during these extended periods.
  • In many countries, there are radical changes being made in public services, including closure of education and rehabilitation services, day care facilities and kindergartens. People who must leave work to support persons with disabilities should continue to receive an acceptable level of income during this period.
  • Users of services that are closed must be offered alternative means of support.
  • Allocate adequate and additional funding to the EU global response plan, as redirecting current funding only would be insufficient and detrimental.
  • Ensure that persons with disabilities taking part in European mobility programmes are provided with adequate support
  • Ensure a minimum income for students and volunteer workers participating in EU mobility programmes such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. Regardless of whether the project needs change, persons with disabilities should have the necessary financial means accommodation and support they need.
  • Ensure that national agencies and hosting organisations participating in EU mobility programmes have clear guidelines and extra resources to support persons with disabilities doing mobility programmes.
  • Strengthen insurance schemes offered by EU mobility programs and ensure they cover extra costs that are incurred due to the pandemic, such as housing, healthcare costs and loss of income.
  • Allocate extra funding for the hosting organisations in these programmes to pay any additional costs linked to disability and the pandemic circumstances that are not covered by their projects; an extra ticket to be able to return home and come back when the confinement has been lifted, provision of protection materials etc.

Ensure that public health communication messages are respectful and non-discriminatory

  • Many people with pre-existing health conditions, older people, and people with complex needs are more at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. However, public messaging on the topic must be respectful and free of bias, avoiding potential of discrimination towards any part of the population based on age or disability.
  • The EU, states and the media must ensure that public health messages in accessible format reach persons with disabilities segregated in institutions (including psychiatric institutions). They should use images that are inclusive and do not stigmatise people.

Guarantee the rights of women and girls with disabilities and take measures to combat violence and abuses

  • Domestic and gender-based violence has risen during the pandemic, and women and girls with disabilities, who constitute 60% of the population of persons with disabilities in the EU – around 60 million – are at a higher risk of facing violence and abuse, in particular when they have to isolate at home or when they are forced to live in closed-settings such as institutions, psychiatric hospitals and refugee centres.
  • A disability dimension should be included in all responses targeting women and a gender dimension in the responses to people with disabilities. Responses should differentiate the particular needs of women and girls with disabilities, but also the specific needs they may have within each specific disability group. To do so, it is important to involve women with disabilities in all stages of the response and in all decision-making processes through direct consultation with organisations of women with disabilities.
  • To assess the situation of women and girls with disabilities, – data disaggregated by sex and disability must be available including differentiated infection rates, information on barriers faced by women when accessing available support, rates of violence and abuse, etc.

In their responses, governments must in particular:

  • Support local organisations of women with disabilities or community-based groups of women with disabilities in developing accessible messages about prevention strategies and responses.
  • Ensure women with disabilities working in all essential sectors (including healthcare, social services providers, shops, farming, sanitation, food production) are adequately taken care of and protected in the face of potential infection. This includes access to information, to personal protective equipment and hygiene products (including menstrual products).
  • Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services, including prenatal and postnatal healthcare for all women.
  • Adopt measures to provide direct compensation to women working in the informal sector, including health or social care staff, domestic staff, migrants and those in other sectors most affected by the pandemic.
  • Foster policies to recognise, reduce and redistribute the unpaid work inside homes and include a disability and a gender analysis and approach in these policies.
  • Ensure services in response to violence against women and girls stay available, including to women and girls with disabilities, or introduce them where they do not currently exist (helplines, shelters, etc). All specialist services for women that are victims of gender-based violence must be accessible and inclusive of women and girls with disabilities. Countries must also make sure that shelters are accessible and involve necessary support services like personal assistance (in case the woman with disabilities was dependent on the abuser for support).

Guarantee the rights of young people with disabilities

Specific measures need to be taken to address young people with disabilities during the pandemic, including:

  • Ensure that when the recovery period starts young people with disabilities are fully included, and that programmes to support youth unemployment are not suspended, postponed or underfinanced.
  • Ensure accessible housing and support solutions for young people living in a precarious situations.
  • Ensure that EU mobility projects that are ongoing can continue in an adapted way and that upcoming programmes are not cancelled but postponed
  • Ensure education and training measures are accessible and inclusive for all learners with disabilities
  • Students with disabilities of all ages are at a higher risk of being excluded from education. Therefore it is essential to:
  • Ensure measures taken by schools and universities are accessible and inclusive of learners with disabilities.
  • Ensure that there is quality inclusive education during and beyond this crisis with the allocation of adequate resources as well as alternative and accessible education, based on the individual needs of learners.
  • Ensure that all students (including those from low-income families) have access to remote learning with specialised digital equipment on an equal basis (laptops, notebooks, netbooks, laptops).
  • Create an open communication channel proposing real-time messaging between educational staff and persons with disabilities and their support network to ensure better support
  • Put in place specific measures during the recovery phase from COVID 19 to encourage students with disabilities to go back to school and prevent permanent dropouts after the crisis ends. 
  • Ensure that measures made available for distance learning are kept available as an option even after educational establishments eventually re-open. Certain learners with disabilities might be required to self-isolate past this date and must be guaranteed continued access to teaching during this period. However, under no circumstances must persons with disabilities be compelled to use remote learning as an alternative to the provision of accessible mainstream educational settings.
  • Ensure that teachers and other educational workers with disabilities, or that are part of the support network of persons with disabilities are given the opportunity, the tools and support necessary to continue distance-teaching if they are required to continue self-isolation after the re-opening of schools and universities
  • Provide extra support for learners for whom the break from routine and the sudden return to the classroom setting after months of confinement might prove especially difficult.
  • Ensure that learners with disabilities who are presently enrolled in ‘special schools’, or who are educated in segregated residential schools for learners with disabilities are fully protected against COVOD 19 in terms of hygiene and access to testing and healthcare. No child should be isolated from their family or support network and every effort should be made to ensure learning, inclusion, and social participation of children with disabilities.

Ensure the right to work for persons with disabilities during and following the pandemic

The EU and European states need to take urgent measures to ensure the right to work of persons with disabilities during and following the pandemic, in particular:

  • Ensure persons with disabilities can work from home, ensuring full accessibility and the availability of all required technical aids.
  • Remote work services must be equally accessible for employees/students with disabilities. Authorities, organisations and educational institutions should ensure all accessibility measures are in place, in close consultation with employees and students with disabilities.
  • Foster connectivity and the use of low-cost ICT among persons with disabilities working from home.
  • Promote digital literacy programmes aimed at the most digitally marginalised people, such as women with disabilities.
  • Ensure adequate income for employees with disabilities who lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Ensure persons with disabilities are counted

  • The EU and European states need to take specific measures to ensure persons with disabilities are counted during the pandemic.
  • Health information systems and monitoring, and new systems used to monitor and contain the spread and effect of COVID-19 should be disaggregated by age, sex and disability.
  • There must be extended identification and registration of persons with disabilities, including use of different relevant data registries to facilitate provision of support.
  • Needs assessment of persons with disabilities should be carried out, with attention to children, women and girls with disabilities, ethnic minorities with disabilities, persons with complex support needs and older persons, people in institutions and people under restrictions of legal capacity in order to provide adequate non-discriminatory provision of support.

Ensure EU non-nationals are protected

The EU should guarantee Member states pay due attention, without discrimination of any kind, to every person regardless of their nationality or citizenship status.

Ensure the EUs external policies and funding, including international cooperation and humanitarian action, are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities

  • Ensure and support the meaningful participation DPOs and partners, in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU supported international COVID-19 response programmes.
  • Ensure that the EU global response plan is comprehensive and creates synergies and collaboration across human rights, governance, health, social protection, Water and Sanitation, education, livelihoods and other sectors, with the consistent goal to reach out to the most marginalised people, including persons with disabilities.
  • Make full use of a twin-track approach to both ensure that disability inclusion is mainstreamed throughout all COVID-19 response efforts as well as investing in targeted actions and programmes to support livelihoods, empowerment and access to essential services for persons with disabilities.
  • Prepare targeted economic empowerment strategies and cash transfer programming which specifically includes persons with disabilities to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
  • Provide immediate flexibility on funds already available and additional funding to humanitarian organisations to ensure that existing humanitarian operations can rapidly scale up and adapt their operations to the risks posed by COVID-19.
  • Ensure that all the EUs humanitarian partners fully include persons with disabilities in their programmes, as experts and partners, and include reporting on their programmes and beneficiaries with data disaggregated according to age, gender and disability.