Tackling the rights of disabled children
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 1 June, 2007 – Up to 2,000 children celebrated the rights of disabled children in a rally in one of Dushanbe’s major parks.
They gathered on June 1 in Central Children Park, Dushanbe, in an event jointly hosted by the city mayor's office, as part of Tajikistan’s marking of International Child Protection Day.
This year the event will focus on children with disabilities who for many decades in Tajikistan have faced exclusion from society. This has involved being being placed in residential institutions.
“UNICEF celebrates this occasion with the hope that reforms should acknowledge disabled children’s rights” - UNICEF Representative Yukie MokuoUNICEF’s Representative in Tajikistan, Yukie Mokuo, said “UNICEF celebrates this occasion with the hope that reforms should acknowledge disabled children’s rights; should change the attitudes of the society towards disability and make sure these children live the normal lives that they are entitled to.”
In Tajikistan, the number of children with moderate or severe disability is estimated to range from 11,300 (Ministry of Health) to 84,000(United Nations Development Programme). There are constraints on disabled children getting the services they need, including: delayed diagnosis, the low quality of health care and social services, insufficient funds, and bureaucratic and expensive procedures to get required documents for social allowances.
The lack of community-based family-support services mean that parents must often resort to institutional care. In 2005, for instance, there were approximately 1,700 children living in institutions for the disabled. Stigma still plays a role in the way in which disabled children and their families are viewed.
The vast majority of children with disabilities have little access to rehabilitative health care or social care services, and many are unable to acquire a formal education in Tajikistan. Too often, the only choices available to children with disabilities are to stay at home – missing out on an education and spending much of their time alone – or to live away from their families in a residential institution.
UNICEF supports pilot referral community-based services in cooperation with the National Commission on Child Rights of the Government of Tajikistan. These centres provide vital services for children with disabilities, enabling them to avoid institutionalisation as well as offering rehabilitation programmes, counselling and access to a wide range of recreational, educational and vocational activities, to help prepare children for the future.
During the week leading up to 1 June, 2007, a variety of advocacy activities were held across the country, including meetings with children, contests among creative youth groups, puppet shows and the organization of recreation programmes in parks and public spaces.
For more information, please contact:
Mukaddas Kurbanova, UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer,