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As the world confronts the COVID19 crisis with collective action, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia and the UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia stand firm in their shared commitment to advocating for the most vulnerable individuals and asking the global community to ensure that increased social protection, health care access, and emergency relief be made available where they are needed most urgently. 

We believe that every young person has the right to realize their full potential, and access to strong health education, health care and social protection are key elements to this pursuit. 

The ongoing COVID19 crisis has mandated strict measures to protect people from the novel coronavirus, including social distancing and home confinement. We fully support these measures as part of a larger commitment to keep all individuals safe, across all nations. 

Vulnerable populations, including individuals with intellectual and other disabilities, face additional challenges in relation to these measures, and we are actively engaged to empower individuals with disabilities, including girls, to stay healthy and safe during these most challenging days. 

Individuals with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities, are particularly at risk during this period, both due to the extended social distancing, home confinement and isolation, and the persistent challenges in accessing quality health services that often result in poor health outcomes for this population. 

We salute the remarkable and continued leadership shown by the health care professionals across the global health community in responding to this unprecedented health crisis. 

We stand united in advocating for increased outreach and support to those most vulnerable, and to ensuring that social protection and empowerment extend to all youth, no matter their abilities.