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Building forward better for an inclusive post-Covid-19 world: promoting participation of persons with disabilities

On the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December 2021), the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination made the following statement:

Throughout the world, persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which limited their access to public and political life, economic opportunities and education. The pandemic has had a negative impact on their overall inclusion and participation in society, widening the gaps and multiplying difficulties. Persons with disabilities living in institutions faced higher health risks and isolation. Employment of persons with disabilities came to a standstill.

Too often, decisions were taken during this period without regard for the principle of “Nothing about us without us”. Persons with disabilities were seldom consulted on the preparation of post-Covid-19 recovery plans. Progress achieved in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was put on hold.

The Committee thereby affirms that there can be no inclusive post-Covid-19 world without targeted action to support and promote participation of persons with disabilities in all fields, including public life.

The Committee therefore calls on Council of Europe member States, observers and partners for democracy to make the full inclusion of persons with disabilities a priority and to strongly support their participation at all levels and in all areas. It is high time for persons with disabilities to be treated as individuals with full and equal rights, as required by the Convention.