On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination declared:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous negative impact on such fundamental rights as access to education, healthcare and employment globally. Persons with disabilities have been at higher risk of discrimination and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They have had to face many additional difficulties from the start, due in part to lack of information in an accessible format, less personal interaction and challenges in the implementation of prevention and protection measures often lacking in inclusive approaches.”
“We regret that inclusion of persons with disabilities was not at the heart of the crisis response from its outset. As the second wave of COVID-19 is progressing in most European countries, we call for increased efforts to learn from experience and ensure that protection, inclusion and non-discrimination are not put aside in today’s and in future responses. Inclusion and accessibility need to be an essential dimension of strong and sustainable crisis management”.
“We call on all member States of the Council of Europe, Observers and Partners for Democracy to ensure that the principles of equality and non-discrimination remain high on the political agenda, and that no one will be left behind in the current response, as well as in a post-COVID-19 world,”concluded the committee.