The pandemic has been uppermost in our minds for some months now, and the virus will not be going away any time soon. As is so often the case, vulnerable groups are more likely to be neglected and left behind in the institutional reactions and management of a crisis. The work of associations working with and for such groups was, therefore, and will continue to be, of vital importance.
EBU therefore considered that it would be worthwhile seeing how different associations are dealing with the crisis, what was learned as we all found paths through an unprecedented situation, and what we think the next steps may be. The European Disability Forum (EDF), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) the World Blind Union (WBU), and the European Union of the Deaf, (EUD) kindly agreed to participate. We are delighted that Katrin Langensiepen (Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the CRPD Network of the European Parliament and board member of the EP’s Disability Forum) also agreed to share her view on the crisis with us.
All of this information will hopefully offer us ways of working together going forward to ensure that the needs of the visually impaired and all other vulnerable groups are considered in times of crisis, and how we can ensure their rights and dignity are respected. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the last major crisis of one sort or another to occur, and the lessons of today must help us be better prepared for the uncertainties of tomorrow. Our thanks to all those who participated in this newsletter, not just for their time here, but for all the work which has and will be done to lessen the impact of the crisis.
EBU reminds all readers that it has its own COVID resources page, which will continue to be maintained and updated as long as necessary.