Young people with disabilities representatives of DPO’s and NGO’s from Fiji, Malta, France, India, Maldives, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia Mauritius, Australia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Canada and United Kingdom came together for roundtable discussions. These were organised by Include Me TOO and the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network, regarding COVID-19 and the vital importance to protect children and young people with disabilities human rights and inclusion during this global pandemic. The COVID 19 Children and Young People with Disabilities Statement and Recommendations has been produced by these young people with disabilities calling for commitment not to be left behind in COVID-19 responses and recovery.
COVID-19 Children and Young People with Disabilities Global Statement and Recommendations
We are deeply concerned about the potential impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the protections of human rights and inclusion of children and young people with disabilities. With an estimation of between 180 and 220 million youth with disabilities worldwide, and an estimation that there are 93 million children with disabilities, of which nearly 80% live in developing countries already one of the most disadvantaged groups. Before the pandemic they experienced barriers and challenges due to limited accessibility, resources and the negative stigma and discrimination associated with disabilities and impairments.
Children and young people with disabilities and their families need to be part of efforts for disability inclusive responses and recovery to this pandemic.
Although we recognise the impact of this pandemic, measures to tackle this must respect and protect the human rights of all people. Children and young people with disabilities should not have their rights compromised, as they already have challenges to accessing the right and appropriate support and resources to give them an equal chance to thrive and reach their potential. Progress made towards disability rights and inclusion – such as access to equal and accessible care and treatment to support dignity and safety, inclusive education, lifelong learning, employment, independent living, a right to family life and social protections – should not be undone. To ensure this, the rights of children and young people with disabilities must be respected and protected.
Due to COVID-19, children and young people with disabilities are at risk of being further left without the vital support, resources and advocacy they received prior to the pandemic. We want to increase greater inclusion as there may be opportunities that arise from disability inclusive responses and recovery as well as opportunities to increase children and young people’s protections on their human rights.
This COVID-19 children and young people with disabilities statement recommendations align with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Global Children and Young People’s Disability Charter.
This COVID 19 Children and Young People with Disabilities Statement and Recommendations is supported and endorsed by: