Ruth Maguire MSP has called for the Scottish Government to take a human-rights based approach to decision making on suppressing the coronavirus outbreak which includes the needs of disabled people.

During an open debate in the Scottish Parliament on the next steps to be taken in responding to the health crisis, the SNP MSP cited a statement from Inclusion Scotland which highlighted a ‘triple whammy’ impact impact of the virus on disabled people.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Maguire said: “This pandemic may be the greatest challenge of our time. Lives have been lost and everyone’s lives have changed. However, although we are all in the same storm, we are most definitely not all in the same boat.

“On top of years of exclusion and austerity, disabled people have been dealt a triple whammy of virus, lack of control and lack of support control and support that they need to enable them to endure the pandemic and whatever comes after it.

“I echo disabled people’s call that they be involved in the design, the delivery and the practice of any new policy. They are the experts in their own lives, and they know best what is needed to make services fit for purpose and accessible.”

Heather Fisken, Head of Policy and Research at Inclusion Scotland said: “We want to see a more socially just and accessible future for disabled people.  Over 800 disabled people and their carers responded to our Covid-19 survey sharing their lived experience of the changes being made in response to it.  

“What has became abundantly clear is that things we have been calling for for years – accessible information, online classes, support with isolation – have, in a matter of weeks become ‘mainstream’.  The next steps must include protecting our human rights and involving us, in planning for the future.”

The MSP convenes the Equality and Human Rights Committee which is presently seeking views from the public and organisations on the human rights impacts on disadvantaged groups of Covid-19 and the responses to tackle it.

Inclusion Scotland’s initial findings survey can be found here.

Ruth’s full contribution in Parliament can be seen below: