A Voice of Our Own

Our Rights to Life during the Covid-19
– Emergency Statement from Persons with Disabilities at Risk-
April 20, 2020

2020-04-22 International CooperationStatement

World Independent Living Center Network(WIN)

 We are global network of Independent Living Centers that support people with disabilities to live in the community regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This network was established in July 2017 at the Global IL Summit in Washington, DC and since, people with disabilities across borders are coming together to carry out activities and missions.

With CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) is raging around the world, we are facing alarming crisis that people with disabilities are left behind and unable to receive crucial support that they need. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, adopted 2007) prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, SDGs, adopted at UN in September,2015 pledged that NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND.

With these concept and principles in mind, we call attention of the world that the needs, self-determination and the dignity of persons with disabilities must be respected. To ensure that persons with disabilities around the world will receive necessary support without being discriminated and to live with their dignity as citizens are protected, we make following appeals to governments of all nations.

1.We will not allow disability-based life screening/selection.

Already, some countries have been practicing or issuing guidelines that disqualify persons with disabilities from getting emergency treatments or administering ventilators for patients with severe symptoms due to COVID-19. This is a practice of eugenics based on disability. The value of life is equal regardless of different types of disabilities. The screening/selection of life based on disability should not be allowed under any circumstances.

2.Provide equal medical treatment for persons with disabilities.

If/when persons with disabilities get infected, they should receive necessary treatments equal to others and the value of their lives MUST be respected.  During the course of diagnosis, exams and treatments, personal attendants (PAs)or service provider, as well as interpreters should be provided and be allowed to accompany based on the needs of persons with disabilities.

3.Provide information with accessible format.

Persons who are deaf, blind, deaf-blind and persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities need alternative format to access information. (Sign Language, captioning, braille, audio-description and other formats that are easily understood.)

4.Ensure PA services and other supports so that people with disabilities continue to live independently in the community, taking necessary precautionary measures against the virus.

In order for persons with disabilities to live on, it is essential to receive services such as PAs. Take necessary measures to ensure PAs and service providers can visit persons with disabilities at their residence even under the situation where government is restricting people to go out. Moreover, provide necessary PPE(Personal Protective Equipment) such as masks, gloves, alcohol, etc., for persons with disabilities and PAs.

5.To ensure new and existing economic and financial assistance to be implemented, continued and expanded to reach persons with disabilities, particularly those living in poverty.

80% of persons with disabilities live in poverty, and are in a position to be more susceptible to economic damage. Take the necessary steps to ensure that financial assistance reaches persons with disabilities without discrimination. Take INCLUSIVE economic measures that LEAVES NO ONE BEHIND by providing reasonable accommodations for information access and simplified procedures for receiving payments/subsidies, especially for persons with disabilities and their families who have difficulty accessing information on the internet.

6.As information is essential, we ask that the voice of Persons with disabilities be ALWAYS taken into account in the different Emergency Committees, that the organizations of Persons with disabilities be consulted at all times about the prevention measures that They will be implemented so that they are truly inclusive and not measures that label, discriminate or segregate the population with disabilities.

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