A Voice of Our Own

Request for the guarantee of human rights for persons with disabilities in response to COVID-19

2020-04-13 Info

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With the outbreak of COVID-19 is getting worse, the shortage of ventilators and medical staff is becoming more serious, and the “selection of lives” that has begun to occur in other countries, DPI-Japan has sent a joint statement with other 6 organizations to the Prime Minister: “Request for the guarantee of human rights for persons with disabilities in response to COVID-19”.

We would like to urge the government to take measures and give its support to ensure that everyone’s human rights are respected equally.

April 11, 2020.

Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Request for the guarantee of human rights for persons with disabilities in response to COVID-19

Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI-Japan)
Japan National Council of Independent Living Centers (JIL)
NPO ALS/MND Support Center Sakura Kai
NPO Sakai wo Koete (Crossing the Boundary)
Co-Net (Ventilator User Network)
Baku-Baku no Kai – Living with a Ventilator –
Neuromuscular Disease Network
(No particular order)

We would like to express our gratitude to Japanese government, which is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for its efforts in promoting measures for persons with disabilities.

Now, the infection by the new coronavirus is spreading around the world and the damage is increasing. It is reported that in cities such as New York, where medical care has already been collapsing. The shortage of ventilators and medical staff has become an acute situation. In the hospital, the medical staff selects patients at their discretion (“triage”), and elderly persons and persons with severe disabilities are not fitted with ventilators, or the ventilators fitted by the elderly are removed and replaced with younger, more effective ones.

In Japan, fears of medical care break down are increasing. We people with disabilities are concerned to hear there is a debate among medical professionals to make rules about who should be allocated the ventilator. In the case of COVID-19, which is preventable and predictable as well as having several days of incubation period if infected, the conditions are fundamentally different from those of a sudden natural disaster or terrorism. We can learn from the experiences of health care collapse overseas and have some time for preparing and preventing the collapse. Please do not promote the “selection of lives” because of disability that leads to eugenics.

Furthermore, we hear that lack of information accessibility makes some public sources of information about Covid-19 not available to deaf people, people with heard of hearing, blind people, people with partial sight and/or low vision, deaf-blind people, and people with intellectual difficulties and/or learning disabilities. In addition, we hear that the information is not transmitted quickly and correctly.

In addition, having been asked to refrain from going out, there is a lack of flexible use of care services, including the use of home-visit care for persons with severe disabilities. It is also concerned about inadequate support for the continuation of the provision of care and other services to persons with disabilities at home.

Here, we ask that the national and local governments take the following measures immediately and reliably:

  1. Not to screen out an individual based on disability
  2. Toensureinformation accessibility (e.g., sign language, subtitles, printing in Braille, audio support, and provision of information in a form that is easy to understand for people with intellectual disabilities)
  3. Toensureflexible response and support in order to continue services for persons with disabilities (e.g., prompt permission to the temporal use of home-visit care service for persons with severe disabilities in switching to work from home, temporal increase in the amount of service provision, temporary deregulation of requirements for training such as home-visit care for persons with severe disabilities and medical care No. 3 training of aspiration of phlegm and tube feeding)
  4. To increase producingventilators andensure that all infected people in need are equipped with ventilators
  5. To increase the number of intensive care units for the critically ill
  6. To increase the number of medical staff who can handle ventilators
  7. Regular distribution of supplies necessary for home treatment of infected people (alcohol for sterilization, masks, protective clothing, etc.)
  8. To guarantees for the safety and security of people who provide medical, nursing, health and other care for infected people and their families (e.g., continuity of nursery schools, coverage in case of infection).
  9. To reward evaluation for medical, nursing, health, and other care of infected people
  10. To provide psychological care for the medical, nursing, health, and other care of infected people (symptoms like PTSDhave been reported).

Contact:
Japan National Council of Independent Living Centers
[JIL New Coronavirus Countermeasure Headquarters]

4-11-11-1F, Myojin-cho, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-0046
TEL: (0)42-660-7747 FAX: (0)42-660-7746 E-mail:office@j-il.jp

 

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