Secretary-General António Guterres (left) delivers his remarks at the meeting of principals on the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy on 3 March 2020. Ms. Ana Maria Menédez, the Secretary-General's Advisor on Policy, is sitting next to him. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting societies at their very core, deepening pre-existing inequalities. Even under normal circumstances, one billion persons with disabilities worldwide are less likely to access education, healthcare and livelihoods or to participate and be included in the community — a situation which is further exacerbated for those living in humanitarian and fragile contexts. They are more likely to live in poverty, and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.
The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities, and producing new threats. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, as outlined by the Secretary-General in his policy brief A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19.
Addressing the current challenges and barriers faced by persons with disabilities requires commitment and creativity. It also presents a unique opportunity to design and implement disability-inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery, and build more inclusive and accessible societies, in consultation with persons with disabilities.
When we secure the rights of persons with disabilities, we invest in our common future.
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Examples of existing good practices being implemented by parts of the United Nations system to promote a disability-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and support implementation of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy.