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The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to the launch of a report focusing on a study carried out to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and related emergency measures on persons with disabilities in Southern Africa.

Date: 29 June,2022 | 11:00 (SAST)
Zoom (Online)

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The research report outlines the findings of a study that was carried out in seven Southern African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It aimed at collecting, analysing and disseminating information on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (and related emergency measures) on persons with disabilities in Southern Africa including the adequacy of measures taken by Southern African countries to protect the core rights of persons with disabilities. Evidence emerging at the time indicated that persons with disabilities were being disproportionately affected by the emergency measures undertaken to address the Coronavirus pandemic by governments globally. Concerns had been raised that measures being taken by governments in response to the pandemic were not inclusive and disregarded the distinct circumstances of persons with disabilities. The research report outlines the findings of a study that was carried out in seven Southern African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It aimed at collecting, analysing and disseminating information on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (and related emergency measures) on persons with disabilities in Southern Africa including the adequacy of measures taken by Southern African countries to protect the core rights of persons with disabilities. Evidence emerging at the time indicated that persons with disabilities were being disproportionately affected by the emergency measures undertaken to address the Coronavirus pandemic by governments globally. Concerns had been raised that measures being taken by governments in response to the pandemic were not inclusive and disregarded the distinct circumstances of persons with disabilities. In response, the Centre for Human Rights, through a survey, sought to establish whether, during the pandemic, persons with disabilities were able to access disability-specific services e.g. rehabilitation services and therapies, and assistive technology they need. Whether they had access to formal (e.g. personal assistance) or informal support to assist them where such assistance was required. Whether they could access general services such as food banks and medicine. The survey also looked at whether persons with disabilities could access information about the prevention of COVID-19 in accessible formats and whether they could access medical treatment for Covid-19 on an equal basis with others. It further sought to understand what social protection measures governments had put in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on persons with disabilities. The survey also sought to shed light on the situation of the more vulnerable groups of persons with disabilities such as children, older persons, homeless persons as well as people in homes, institutions and rural settings.

The report will contribute towards ensuring that the emergency and other measures taken by governments in Southern Africa during the Coronavirus pandemic -and by extension, other emergency situations- are mindful of persons with disabilities and do not violate their human rights as set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The hope is that government will use this data in addition to data from other sources to address gaps in the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. Disabled People’s organisations will also be able to use the data in their advocacy work and National Human Institutions in monitoring the situation of persons with disabilities thus assisting in holding governments accountable. The lessons, recommendations and guidelines developed will provide insights into how Southern African countries can better protect the rights of persons with disabilities during times of pandemics and other risks.

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For more information, please contact:

Dianah Msipa (she/her)
Manager: Disability Rights Unit

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 6398
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743
dianah.msipa@up.ac.za