The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has called on all African countries to mainstream disability issues in all COVID-19 response strategies and stimulus packages.
The commission through its working group on older persons and persons with disabilities made the call in a press statement issued on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020.
The working group said it is important that African countries ensure that mainstreaming strategies are put in place in all sectors of government to fully accommodate persons with disabilities in COVID 19 response strategies and stimulus packages.
Furthermore, the Working Group calls on all African countries to prioritise disability interventions, strategies and programmes, at all times avoiding the cutting of budgets for programmes and services of benefit to persons with disabilities.
The working group also tasked that, “all information and COVID 19 response strategies must be made accessible to a diverse range of disabilities, through among other strategies, group chats, social media awareness on such topics as access to inclusive education, social distancing and keeping safe from COVID-19.
“Educational and awareness strategies must reach all persons with disabilities including children, youth and adults (particularly women) with disabilities.”
The Working Group calls on AU Member States to provide opportunities for COVID 19-related disability research; sharing, interacting and communicating results of such research.
The Working Group also called on all African countries to identify opportunities/ constraints, areas that need urgent intervention, ideas on responses, experiences, proposals and budget allocations for disability-inclusive COVID-19 responses.
The Working Group affirms the need to support Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), leaders/ activists/parents/ communities to advocate and hold duty bearers, including COVID 19 command centres and others, accountable and responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities.