Mongolia launches "Children with Disabilities" report
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 31 May 2013 – Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children can achieve, rather than what they cannot do, according to UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children’s report.
Concentrating on the abilities and potential of children with disabilities would create benefits for society as a whole, says the report released today.
The report lays out how societies can include children with disabilities because when they play a full part in society, everyone benefits. For instance, inclusive education broadens the horizons of all children even as it presents opportunities for children with disabilities to fulfil their ambitions.
More efforts to support integration of children with disabilities would help tackle the discrimination that pushes them further into the margins of society.
The combined result is that children with disabilities are among the most marginalized people in the world. Children living in poverty are among the least likely to attend their local school or clinic but those who live in poverty and also have a disability are even less likely to do so.
Gender is a key factor, as girls with disabilities are less likely than boys to receive food and care.
“Discrimination on the grounds of disability is a form of oppression,” the report says, noting that multiple deprivations lead to even greater exclusion for many children with disabilities.
There is little accurate data on the number of children with disabilities, what disabilities these children have and how disabilities affect their lives. As a result, few governments have a dependable guide for allocating resources to support and assist children with disabilities and their families.
Contents of the report:
The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities states that children with disabilities are the least likely to receive health care or go to school. They are among the most vulnerable to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly if they are hidden or put in institutions – as many are because of social stigma or the economic cost of raising them.
Progress is being made toward the inclusion of children with disabilities, albeit unevenly, and The State of the World’s Children 2013 sets out an agenda for further action.
The report urges governments to ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to support families so that they can meet the higher costs of caring for children with disabilities.
It calls for measures to fight discrimination among the general public, decision-makers and providers of such essential services as schooling and health care.
International agencies should promote a concerted global research agenda on disability to generate data and analysis that will guide planning and resource allocation, the report says.
It emphasizes the importance of involving children and adolescents with disabilities by consulting them on the design and evaluation of programmes and services for them.
Children with Disabilities in Mongolia:
The report found that globally, 93 million children – or 1 in 20 of those aged 14 or younger – live with a moderate or severe disability of some kind. In Mongolia, there are an estimated 32,516 children with disabilities (Source: Union of Organizations of People with Disabilities, 2009).
Mr Mohamed M. Fall, UNICEF country Representative in Mongolia, said “We are fortunate to celebrate the launch of this report the day before Children’s Day” – a day that celebrates the rights of all children in Mongolia. He urged people to be reminded that “the issues of children with disabilities are too often neglected in many societies, and for this reason these children cannot equally enjoy their rights to education, protection and participation in community life”.
Mongolia acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009. In doing so, the Government of Mongolia took on the responsibility of aligning its domestic laws with the principles of these Conventions. It has pledged to create the conditions for the rights of all people to be enjoyed without discrimination and mobilize resources for the implementation of this goal.
In Mongolia, as in many countries, children with disabilities remain among the most marginalised in society and are often trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, stigma and exclusion. In particular, missed opportunities for education often mean that children with disabilities have difficulties entering the workforce as adults or find themselves in menial wage labour employment.
“Children with disabilities and their families are too often invisible – in statistics, in policies, in societies”, Mr Fall said. “The first step towards making our societies more inclusive for all is to change our perceptions about children with disabilities. We should not see them as recipients of charity but as children with abilities, who can strongly contribute to their communities if given the right opportunities”.
The State of the World’s Children 2013 report is available online at http://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/.