Kathmandu, June 16

The National Human Rights Commission has warned that persons with disabilities, indigenous nationalities, migrant Nepali workers and indigent groups are being neglected and deprived of basic human rights as COVID-19 is spreading at the community level in Nepal.

Issuing a press statement today, the rights body expressed serious concern about their inability to have timely access to medical care and other basic facilities when most parts of the country are under prohibitory orders enforced by district administration offices to curb the spread of the virus infection.

According to the NHRC, it has been monitoring the condition of persons with disabilities, indigenous nationalities and migrant Nepali workers throughout the country on a regular basis. It is also analysing the study reports of various organisations.

Recently, the rights body had conducted a virtual meeting with various NGOs, development partners, ministries and departments of the Government of Nepal, researchers and other stakeholder agencies regarding the human rights situation of persons with disabilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the virtual meeting and monitoring reports, the NHRC has come up with an eight-point recommendation to the Government of Nepal for providing relief to persons with disabilities, in addition to assistive devices such as white cane, hearing aid, medicines and hygiene kits on the basis of their disabilities.

The government has also been told to make arrangements of disabled-friendly dedicated ward in hospitals, health centres and health posts across the country; make district-based gender violence prevention system more effective; provide psycho-social counselling to persons with disabilities and ensure easy access of women to sanitary pads and other medical care.

Likewise, the rights body has urged the government to provide free PCR testing of indigent persons, endangered groups, persons with disabilities, women, senior citizens, children and indigenous nationalities living in rural areas. It also underscored the need to expand their access to anti-COVID vaccine.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 17, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.