Saturday, May 30, 2020

On CABE's representation, DEPwD writes to States seeking disaggregated data of Covid- 19 affected persons by disabilities

New Delhi, 30 May 2020

The number of persons infected by Covid- 19 Pandemic is rising each day and we are sure a large number of persons with disabilities would also be affected due to their enhanced vulnerabilities because of dependence on others. However, it is not known whether disaggregated data by disabilities is being compiled and maintained by the concerned authorities.  

Also Section 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 requires the authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities and the DDMAs are required to maintain record of details of persons with disabilities in the district and take suitable measures to inform such persons of any situations of risk so as to enhance disaster preparedness. Article 31.2 of the UNCRPD also obligates the states parties to disaggregate the information and the data to use it to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights. Goal 17.18 of SGDs on data, monitoring and accountability also envisages availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by disability among others.

As per National Disaster Management Plan November 2019, a Handicap International study in 2015 (HI 2015) found that 75% of people with disabilities believe that they are excluded from humanitarian responses to emergencies like natural disasters and conflict. They are often overlooked and excluded in risk reduction and disaster response measures. Persons with disabilities are also at a higher risk than others. 

In light of absence of mechanisms for collating disability disaggregated, CABE sent a representation to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  on 28 April 2020, seeking consideration of the following: 
i)  The data and information relating to Covid- 19 affected persons (i.e. those infected, quarantined, treated, died, etc.) may be desegregated by disabilities and be made available in the public domain.
ii) The concerned authorities may be advised to ensure that persons with disabilities are included throughout the DRM Cycle.
iii) Specific vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities among the Covid- 19 affected persons should be addressed effectively and with high degree of sensitivity. 
iv) They should not be clubbed with other persons for this purpose. It should be ensured that they are not abandoned after they are released from quarantine facility/ hospital.
The DEPwD, acting on our representation, vide its email dated 30 May 2020, addressed to Principal Secretary / Secretary dealing with empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in all States and Union Territories, has asked them to furnish detailed disaggregated data in respect of persons with disabilities.

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