DISABILITY: Promoting the rights of children with disabilities

[25 October 2007] - Children with disabilities and their families constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights and to their inclusion in society. Their abilities are overlooked, their capacities are underestimated and their needs are given low priority. Yet, the barriers they face are more frequently as a result of the environment in which they live than as a result of their impairment.

While the situation for these children is changing for the better, there are still severe gaps. On the positive side, there has been a gathering global momentum over the past two decades, originating with persons with disabilities and increasingly supported by civil
society and governments.

In many countries, small, local groups have joined forces to create regional or national organisations that have lobbied for reform and changes to legislation. As a result, one by one the barriers to the participation of persons with disabilities as full members of their communities are starting to fall.

Progress has varied, however, both between and within countries. Many countries have not enacted protective legislation at all, resulting in a continued violation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Innocenti Digest on Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities attempts to provide a global perspective on the situation of the some 200 million children with disabilities. The Digest is based on reports from countries across regions and from
a wide range of sources. These include accounts by persons with disabilities, their families and members of their communities, professionals, volunteers and non-governmental organisations, as well as country reports submitted by Member States to the United Nations, including to human rights treaty bodies responsible for monitoring the implementation of international human rights treaties.

This Digest focuses particularly on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The latter instrument was signed by an unprecedented 81 countries on opening day, 30 March 2007. As of
15 August 2007, 101 countries had signed the CRPD and 4 had ratified it. For entry into force, it is necessary that the Convention receive 20 ratifications. The Disabilities Convention offers a unique opportunity for every country and every community to reexamine its laws and institutions and to promote changes necessary to ensure that persons with disabilities are guaranteed the same rights as all other persons.

It expresses basic human rights in a manner that addresses the special needs and situation of persons with disabilities and provides a framework for ensuring
that those rights are realised.

Further information

pdf: http://www.unicef-irc.org/cgi-bin/unicef/Lunga.sql?ProductID=474

Countries