The current situation can well be described as follows: poverty among persons with disabilities is a structural problem compounded by the current economic and financial crisis.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a human rights treaty and a social development tool and its entry into force should be seen as an opportunity to increase efforts to combat poverty among persons with disabilities. Most, if not all, of its articles are relevant in this context and should guide these efforts.

 Examples were given by panellists as well as participants from the floor on how the current situation is impacting on persons with disabilities:

 -       Persons with disabilities losing their jobs as they are often the last to be hired and the first to be fired;

-       Efforts to promote inclusive education are put to a halt;

-       Reduction in social protection programmes are having a large impact on persons with disabilities and their families;

-       Reduction in the support to programmes benefitting persons with disabilities, including those delivered by organisations of persons with disabilities

-       Less attention paid to ensuring that any new infrastructure project meets accessibility requirements;

It is therefore extremely urgent to increase efforts to ensure that the current crisis does not result in drawbacks in policies and programmes to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.


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Regina Atalla