Emergency On Planet Earth #14

Emergency On Planet Earth #14


What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 


Tuesday 21st April

Today l am sharing emails l have received  from my disabled network relating to the treatment of disabled people during this Coronavirus  crisis. They make  for interesting reading.

It is really strange to be a disabled person with all this going on. I am totally reliant on the support of a small team of support workers who are on hand to help me maintain my independence and dignity. I cannot afford any social distancing, so all we can do is to follow the guidelines as best we can and make sure we are well stocked  with gloves and hand sanitizer.  The house is spotless  as everywhere is constantly being wiped down with antibacterial spray and wipes.

There is little else we can do except to stay positive and hope this all blows over sooner rather than later.


The European Network on Independent Living – ENIL has joined five other organisations – the Validity Foundation – Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, the International Disability AllianceDisability Rights International, the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and the International Disability and Development Consortium – in launching an important new initiative, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor. Please read on to find out more about this initiative and to learn how you can support it.

Evidence is emerging that persons with disabilities are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency measures being taken by governments worldwide. As governments rush to respond to the virus, it is more critical than ever to guarantee that measures taken are fully inclusive of persons with disabilities and prevent human rights violations from taking place.

With the endorsements of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Mr Dainius Pūras, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, a coalition of six disability rights organisations has launched a major international monitoring initiative entitled “COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor” to conduct rapid independent monitoring of state measures concerning persons with disabilities. The first element of this global initiative is the launch of two surveys requesting official information from governments and requesting the testimonies of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. The surveys aim to collect information about what states are doing to protect core rights of persons with disabilities including the rights to life, access to health and essential services.

Beyond this, the initiative seeks to highlight the particular issues faced by persons with disabilities in situations of heightened vulnerability, including those living in institutions and their own homes, children, older persons, those who are homeless and people in rural settings.

A new website has been created to host the surveys at www.covid-drm.org. It will soon contain a dashboard to make the data collected publicly available. Surveys are being made available in fifteen languages initially. It is expected that the information collected will identify common issues facing persons with disabilities worldwide, providing valuable information to inform policy measures at national and global levels, and will highlight promising practices which can strengthen the protection of disability rights during crises.

Endorsing the initiative, Mr Pūras said: “The COVID-19 pandemic and emergency measures taken by States around the world raise many challenges and concerns with regard to persons with disabilities, especially for those in residential care. Measures undertaken to stop the spread of virus may increase risks that the human rights of these people are violated. In such situations, when closed institutions are becoming even more closed, the need for independent monitoring becomes more important than ever before.

In her endorsement, Ms Devandas Aguilar said: “The COVID-19 pandemic represents a threat to the lives of people with disabilities. COVID-19 is hitting hard in our community, feeding on and deepening the historical and structural discrimination against people with disabilities. Social care institutions, nursing homes and psychiatric facilities, where people with disabilities are often institutionalised or detained against their will, have become hotspots of the pandemic, accounting for half of the fatalities in some countries. Governments across the world must act fast to guarantee that all COVID-19 responses are accessible and disability-inclusive.”

The initiative is being implemented by a Coordinating Group comprised of leading disability rights organisations worldwide who will work closely with their networks to build a comprehensive global picture.

Please support COVID 19 – Disability Rights Monitor by completing the survey or by forwarding it to the relevant authorities, organisations and/or individuals through your networks. Guidance for DPOs (disabled people’s organisations) and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) is available here. The survey is currently available in 9 languages: Bulgarian, Czech, English, French, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and will soon be available in German and Easy-Read. Additional languages will be added gradually and we use this opportunity to take all our volunteers for their help. Any questions can be directed to monitoring@covid-drm.org, and any updates will be published on our websiteFacebook and Twitter (@ENIL_EU). Thank you for all your support in making sure we receive as many contributions as possible.

Complete the survey HERE


Update: Coronavirus (COVID 19) and the rights of disabled people in Wales

Dear Nathan,

Over 1400 individuals and organisations, including you, have signed up as supporters of the statement “Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the rights of disabled people in Wales” issued by members of the Wales Disability Reference Group: Disability WalesLearning Disability Wales, Wales Council of the Blind and Wales Council for Deaf People.

On Friday 17th April the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer responded to some issues raised in the statement, clarifying the situation regarding decisions made about whether to resuscitate.  This is in addition to  the Guidance for healthcare services when making decisions during the coronavirus outbreak issued on 12 April.

You can see both of these important documents here:

Thank you for your support, we will keep in touch and inform you of any further developments.

Zoe Richards
CEO, Learning Disability Wales

On behalf of Wales Disability Reference Group



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