Disability Rights | HI calls for more inclusion ahead of 2022 Global Disability Summit
The Global Disability Summit will be held virtually Feb. 15-17, 2022, to advance the rights of people with disabilities. Humanity & Inclusion is calling on States to commit to a more inclusive world.
Drawing on its experience in the field, in collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities, Humanity & Inclusion will work to achieve progress on three core issues at the summit: inclusive education, inclusive health and inclusive humanitarian assistance. The organization is formally calling on States to attend and take the necessary steps toward a more inclusive future.
A call to action
The 2022 Global Disability Summit is critical to advancing the rights of people with disabilities and helping ensure they live with dignity. In the wake of the first summit in 2018, 171 international actors committed to advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of society.
This issue will remain central to the 2022 summit. It is vitally important for States, international agencies, funding bodies and civil society organizations to attend the gathering in large numbers and make commitments that are both ambitious and practical.
Humanity & Inclusion is launching an urgent appeal to all international actors to seize this opportunity and attend the summit. The commitments made must address core inclusion issues in collaboration with organizations run by and for people with disabilities, and be supported by funding to ensure they are implemented in full.
Three core commitments
Humanity & Inclusion is committed to making progress on three key disability rights issues at the 2022 Global Disability Summit. The organization also advocates taking into account the intersections of gender and age with disability rights.
More than 32 million children with disabilities worldwide are deprived of an education—which means one-third of all children are not enrolled in school, according to a 2016 report published by the Education Commission. Humanity & Inclusion operates 48 education projects in 26 countries, collaborating with local partners to ensure the specific needs of all children, including those with disabilities, are taken into account. In 2020, Humanity & Inclusion helped 365,000 children go to school.
Humanity & Inclusion will urge national and international actors to commit to promoting access to school for girls, making education systems more inclusive and increasing funding for inclusive education policies.
Humanity & Inclusion advocates the implementation of Article 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recognizes their right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. The organization works to implement inclusive health policies, train health staff and ensure equal access to care. To achieve this, Humanity & Inclusion works alongside with people with disabilities and their organizations to uplift their voices and support their involvement in decision-making.
The organization is committed to working alongside people with disabilities and the organizations that represent them, with an emphasis on women and young people with disabilities. Humanity & Inclusion works to facilitate access to quality information and services in the field of sexual and reproductive health and to advance rights in these areas.
Inclusive humanitarian assistance
Humanity & Inclusion helps international humanitarian actors—NGOs, funding bodies and international agencies—across 20 countries to develop a more inclusive approach. To achieve this, Humanity & Inclusion works alongside organizations run by and for people with disabilities to implement humanitarian projects and programs—such as interventions related to natural disasters—that take into account the specific needs of people with disabilities. The organization works with the Global Protection Cluster—a network of NGOs and international organizations engaged in protection work in humanitarian crises—and its partners to facilitate inclusive action through a global approach that includes age, gender and disability in adopted strategies.
Humanity & Inclusion is committed to helping implement the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, an inter-agency forum of UN and non-UN humanitarian partners founded to strengthen humanitarian assistance, including by giving people with disabilities and their representative organizations a voice and a role in humanitarian action. The organization plans to undertake promotion actions, gather good practices, and share tools and data on inclusive action while empowering international actors on this issue.
Humanity & Inclusion’s expertise
For more than 40 years, Humanity & Inclusion has worked to advance the rights of people with disabilities and to help them live with dignity. Across nearly 60 countries, the organization helps people with disabilities and their representative organizations participate in public debates to meaningfully shape strategies designed to meet their specific needs.
Drawing on its experience and expertise built up over many years, Humanity & Inclusion is committed to advancing the rights of people with disabilities at the 2022 Global Disability Summit. A delegation from Humanity & Inclusion will attend the summit, which will be held virtually.
Covid-19 | The pandemic disproportionately impacts people with disabilities
December 3rd marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year, the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the isolation and exclusion of people with disabilities.
Humanity & Inclusion teams are trained to support people with disabilities in responding to crisis, but Covid-19 has presented unique challenges. During the pandemic, Humanity & Inclusion has continued to work with people with disabilities to:
Improve access to health services
Essential health services – that are already insufficient in poor countries - have become even harder for people with disabilities to access due to Covid-19 restrictions or medical resources being allocated to treating people with the virus. Without access to the care they need, people with disabilities can see their health status worsening, risking complications and additional permanent difficulties or reduced functional ability.
Humanity & Inclusion has launched programs to continue rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, including support for a virtual tele-rehabilitation platform to provide physical therapy sessions in Rwanda and organizing 1,000 online rehabilitation sessions for patients in Nepal.
Raise awareness about Covid-19
People with disabilities are often left out of campaigns raising awareness of Covid-19. Information leaflets are not adapted for people who are blind and many awareness resources are only distributed in hospitals, which are not always accessible to people with disabilities.
Humanity & Inclusion conducted a study in Ethiopia which found that 40% of adults and 45% of children with disabilities did not have access to public information on Covid-19 that they could understand. In some countries, Humanity & Inclusion has launched radio campaigns and TV campaigns in sign language that are accessible to people with disabilities.
Promote inclusion and reduce marginalization
People with disabilities are facing isolation and exclusion as social support services and networks - including personal assistance like caregivers - are disrupted. They may have difficulties carrying out daily activities such as showering and using the restroom without assistance.
In some countries, lockdowns have led to dramatic consequences, where people with disabilities are unable to access food and basic supplies.
The risk of violence to children and adults with disabilities is routinely three to four times higher than for those without disabilities. In the current circumstances, public restrictions, self-isolation of households and disruption of community life may lead to increased violence towards people with disabilities. In Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion received reports of authorities exerting violent acts towards people with disabilities who were on their way home after the curfew because police considered that they did not want to abide by the law.
Combat economic hardships
Covid-19 measures and restrictions have brought the global economy to a standstill. People with disabilities - who are more likely to be poor, unemployed and to have low education - are disproportionately affected by this economic shock.
In Nepal and Madagascar, Humanity & Inclusion meets many people with disabilities who are eating less because they have lost their income and have limited access to food. In Haiti, 65% of respondents to an Humanity & Inclusion survey said that the economic support they normally receive has been greatly disrupted by the pandemic.
So far, Humanity & Inclusion has distributed assistance for basic needs to 360,000 people worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic.