COVID-19 presents risks to us all, but it’s especially detrimental for those with disabilities. Governments and citizens should take extra steps to fight for disability rights during this troubling time.
“People with disabilities are among the world’s most marginalized and stigmatized even under normal circumstances,” said Jane Buchanan, the deputy disability rights director at Human Rights Watch.
Would you like to learn about why it’s more important than ever to fight for disability rights (and how we can do it)? That’s what we’ll discuss in this article, so keep reading.
The Repercussions of COVID-19 for the Disabled
There are over a billion people that are living with some form of disability. That’s over 15% of the world population. And the unfortunate truth is that disabled people are at a much higher risk for serious illness or death from COVID-19.
Improving disability experience isn’t only relevant to people with disabilities. This affects all other demographics too. We should all understand what we can do to support marginalized groups.
Keep in mind that many people who aren’t disabled today may become disabled in the future.
People with disabilities, even without the pandemic, are still fighting for basic rights. The pandemic resulted in even greater challenges for the disabled. This includes access to education, information, employment, and healthcare.
We’ve also seen an increase in abuse and neglect across care centers and medical facilities. This is why disability attorneys exist—to help answer these difficult questions and fight for disabled rights.
Here’s what the government (and we as citizens) can do to improve disability rights.
Governments should provide accurate, accessible, and timely information about COVID-19. It’s vital that these communication strategies are accessible to everyone.
This could include:
• Sign language for the deaf
• Websites that support different disabilities
• Telephone services with texting capabilities
• Communication that is easily understood
This will help the disabled to learn more about the disease, what they can do to prevent it, and which services are available to them.
Governments also have the power to install prevention guidelines and strategies. These should consider the specific needs of the disabled.
For example, we need more guidelines for handwashing for those who struggle to do so or lack access to enough water. There should also be alternative forms of education for children during the pandemic.
Governments can also take steps to improve the safety of the disabled from the pandemic. This could include moving people out of closed and contaminated areas and/or preventing new admissions to facilities.
It could also include increasing mental health support services. This would help those suffering from anxiety or depression more than ever due to social isolation.
It’s Always Time to Fight for Disability Rights
It’s not only relevant to fight for disability rights during a pandemic, but at all times.
Accommodation and inclusion should be available for everyone at all times. Only together can we help improve the circumstances for marginalized groups.
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