The UN denounces that the disabled are the most affected by the pandemic
The United Nations denounced today that the 1 billion disabled people in the world are being the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and called on governments to establish the necessary measures to carry out a response to COVID-19 "inclusive for all the world".
"People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse. The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities and producing new threats," UN Secretary-General António said in an audiovisual message. Guterres, on the occasion of the launch of the report "Inclusive response of disability to COVID-19".
The highest representative of the United Nations stressed that people with disabilities are among those most affected by the disease, and that they also face a lack of access to public health and significant barriers to implement basic hygiene measures.
As evidence of the precarious situation experienced by disabled people in this pandemic, Guterres pointed out that the number of deaths in nursing homes represents from 19% of deaths in some countries, to an "incredible" 72% in other nations.
"In some countries health rationing decisions are based on discriminatory criteria such as age or the assumption about the quality or value of a life based on a disability. We cannot allow this to continue," urged the Portuguese diplomat.
"We must guarantee equal rights for people with disabilities to access health care and life-saving procedures," he added.
He also spoke of the fact that this sector of the population was already facing exclusion from the world of work before the crisis, making them more likely to lose their jobs, which adds to the fact that only 28% of people with Disability has access to government aid, which in the case of developing countries is only 1%.
He also underlined the increased risk of domestic violence that women and girls face during the epidemic.
"I urge governments to put people with disabilities at the center of the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, and to consult and communicate" with them, Guterres asked.
"When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we are investing in a common future," he insisted after recalling that last year the UN launched its disability inclusion strategy.
Specifically, the report "Inclusive response of disability to COVID-19" indicates that 15% of the world population has some type of disability, and that 80% of them reside in developing countries.
It also reveals that 46% of people over 60 are in this situation, and that one in five women will probably be at some point in their lives.
In the list of recommendations that the UN gives to countries to help the disabled, the agency asks to "expand community support", and gives as an example to countries such as Argentina, Peru and Spain.
"People who support people with disabilities are exempt from restrictions on movement and physical distance," stresses the United Nations about these nations.
It also proposes to reduce the number of people with disabilities who are institutionalized "where possible", ensure that distance education is also available to students with disabilities, and offer support services to victims of domestic violence accessible to this sector of the population.