People with disabilities represent a large portion of the world’s population

Fifteen percent of the global population has a disability – that’s one in seven people. People with disabilities include ‘people with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’. Of these:

Including people with disabilities is about recognising basic human rights

The UN recognises that the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation are essential to achieving all other human rights. This includes the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been signed by 163 countries, and stipulates that humanitarian responses must be disability inclusive (Article 11). Recently, the UN’s Secretary General urged governments “to place people with disabilities at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to consult and engage people with disabilities”.

As a number of human rights specialists state in this blog, applying the principles of human rights (equality and non-discrimination, participation, transparency, accountability and sustainability) within COVID-19 responses can reduce inequalities. Community-level hygiene and COVID-19 prevention programmes are also an opportunity for WASH actors to practice disability-inclusive WASH, something the sector has been prioritising in recent years.

Want to know more about considering disability in COVID-19 hygiene programmes:

Editor notes:

Written by: Jane Wilbur

Reviewed by: Hannah Kuper, Islay Mactaggart, Sian White, Chelsea Huggett

Last updated: 25.5.2020

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