The COVID-19 pandemic battered the Latin American region, and has exacted a disproportionate toll on the lives of persons with disabilities throughout Latin America, exacerbating inequalities and entrenching already pervasive patterns of marginalization. These effects were especially evident for institutionalized persons with disabilities throughout the region – who faced heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission and increased isolation in these congregate settings – as well as for children with disabilities, who experienced disruptions in access to education and other critical services. And pandemic response and recovery plans often have failed to adequately include persons with disabilities.
Within this landscape, what role can courts play? On October 8, Alicia Ely Yamin, GHELI’s Senior Scholar in Residence, moderated an animated discussion about the challenges to and opportunities for building a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities in Latin America. Expert panelists shared an overview of the legal and human rights issues and challenges in the region from the perspective of the Pan-American Health Organization, as well as an exploration of the Mexican Supreme Court’s approach to disability rights.
Yamin also chaired and moderated last month’s panel, “Engendering Democracy: The Significance of Abortion Legalization in Argentina.” Both events were cohosted by the Global Health Rights Project (GHRP)—a collaboration between the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator (GHELI) at Harvard University.