COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges faced by disabled people who live in institutions. Their rights have been disproportionately impacted and in some cases their very survival is at risk. This coronavirus affirms once more that the human rights-based approach to disability is, literally, lifesaving.
The word crisis derives from krinomai, an ancient Greek word with meanings such as separating and sorting, but also distinguishing and deciding. A crisis creates a moment of truth and a possible wormhole to the future, to another future. Today, however, we are only acquainted with the negative connotation of this word. And that is unfortunate since a crisis can be so much more than a disaster.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency—but it is far more. It is an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.’ António Guterres, Secretary General United Nations
The COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to combat it are having a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities. To protect their rights during this pandemic and post-crisis, their needs must be taken into account in global response and recovery efforts.
The rules that govern international assistance in emergency situations are found in two different legal orders: international humanitarian law and human rights law. This post examines developments concerning the latter.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is both a consequence and cause of deepening social inequalities. An effective human rights-based response requires us to firmly prioritise the realisation of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights and to envisage global solidarity mechanisms that will render this possible.