- February 4, 2021

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the social protection response and recovery initiatives by countries in the South Asian Region towards people with disabilities from the perspective of DPOs. The region is characterised by a high population with majority of states falling under low and middle-income status, high levels of economic informality, low social protection coverage, intersectional marginalisation due to gender, ethnicity and caste, and a high concentration of migrant population. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified vulnerabilities in the region and furthered the marginalisation of persons with disabilities. 

DPOs contribution to this report highlighted: 

  • Limited efforts to reach out to persons with disabilities
  • Lack of specific social protection measures for persons with disabilities in all countries of the region
  • Lack of responsiveness of the general measures to respond to the issues of people with disabilities
  • Inaccessibility of information and communication services
  • A lack of sub-national government initiatives which can pave the way towards a more inclusive SP response and recovery 
  • The need to build better initiatives by addressing the pre-existing barriers and inequalities

Key Recommendations:

  1. People with disabilities should be included in all social protection measures focused on response and recovery. All such programs, including the implementation mechanisms, should be responsive and address the intersectional marginalisation experienced by people with disabilities in order to be in line with the CRPD. 
  2. Social protection systems should provide a meaningful combination of cash transfer and services that ensure basic income security, coverage of health care and disability-related costs, as well as facilitating socio-economic empowerment. In the progressive realisation of universal coverage, priority should be given to children and people with high support requirements.
  3. The disability certification process should be accessible and available for all people with disabilities as close to the community as possible.
  4. Accessibility of information and communication including plain language communication, alternative formats of communication, and sign language with captioning must be ensured at all levels of implementation and in languages spoken by the indigenous communities. 
  5. Community-based inclusive services must be implemented with a particular focus on Dalit and indigenous populations of people with disabilities.
  6. Deinstitutionalisation programs must be strengthened and scaled up.
  7. Budget must be allocated for responding to the restrictions and marginalisation experienced by persons with disabilities.
  8. All programs must be gender-sensitive and age-sensitive.
  9. At all levels of planning, implementation and impact assessment, programs must ensure full and effective participation of persons with disabilities.
  10. Countries in the region must invest in data collection methods such as the Washington Group Questions and administrative and financial data must be disaggregated for ensuring accountability.

Read the full report on the Social Protection Response to COVID-19 for Persons with Disabilities in South Asian Region here. 

>>Learn morea about Inclusive Social Protection in partnership with ILO, please click here.

>>Read more about COVID-19 and Disability Movement here.

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