Published:

ResPoNCE: Respecting People with disabilities’ Needs and rights in Crisis and Emergency

The COVID-19 crisis has led to numerous new strategies, laws, policies and guidelines around Europe, but how do these affect people with disabilities?

Picture of colleagues in the office, one in a wheelchair and one standing

A new project supported by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council will look at decisions made during the pandemic in several European countries and their impact on people with disabilities. The research will provide guidance for decision-making bodies to help them maintain their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

What is the issue?

Strategic decisions made by countries and healthcare systems in the pandemic may not always support the rights of people with disabilities.

What will the research project do?

Using a framework developed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, the project will analyse laws, policies and guidelines that emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, Spain, UK, Italy, Sweden and Germany. 

What will the impact be? 

This project will provide guidance to governments, medical councils and healthcare professionals in order to maintain obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Lead researcher Professor Eilionoir Flynn, Established Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, says: 

“Emerging research findings, including from the International Disability Alliance and other disability groups, demonstrate that disabled people globally are disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic. Not only are disabled people at greater risk of contracting the virus and experiencing adverse effects (especially those living in institutional settings) but they are also disproportionately affected by restrictions in access to community services and supports. This research will help us to understand in more depth how countries can respond to the challenge in ways that protect the human rights of disabled people."

Lead Researcher: Professor Eilionoir Flynn, NUI Galway