|© UNICEF video|
|Disability activist Victor Pineda established a non-profit foundation that works with new media to inspire people with disabilities, and was instrumental in developing a child-friendly version of the CRPD.|
By Amy Bennett
NEW YORK, USA, 14 May 2008 – A major victory was achieved for people living with disabilities as leaders and activists gathered in the UN General Assembly Hall this week to celebrate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – the first human rights Convention of the 21st century.
The goals of the CRPD, which was put into force on 3 May, are to protect the rights of people with disabilities and give more leverage to governments to enact laws to help them.
“Now we must take concrete steps to transform the vision of the Convention into real victories on the ground,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We must address the glaring inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities. We must counter discrimination and prejudice.”
‘Here and now’
It is estimated that there are 200 million children with disabilities globally – 10 per cent of the world’s children.
“It’s time, here and now, to begin paying a social debt owed to the millions of children, adolescents and adults with disabilities that live in every part of this planet, so that we can begin to restore the dignity and equal opportunities that until now had been denied them,” said the First Lady of Panama, Vivian Fernández de Torrijos.
UNICEF believes that children with disabilities are effective self-advocates with a key role to play in shaping societal views. The CRPD will require that children with disabilities be consulted during the development and implementation of legislation and policies.
|Cover of the booklet 'It’s About Ability: An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities', a child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.|
Working with partners
One of UNICEF's first priorities in regard to the CRPD will be working with UN and civil society partners to create awareness and empower children, parent associations and other organizations to use the Convention as an advocacy tool.
The Victor Pineda Foundation and the German National Committee for UNICEF provided the funding to realize this project. The Special Olympics and Save the Children (UK and Sweden) provided space to consult with children at organized events.
Together with its partners, UNICEF will also support data collection and research, and will provide technical assistance in the review of national legislation to ensure they are in compliance with the CRPD's principles.
“The inclusion of children with disabilities is not a charitable act but a matter of rights,” said UNICEF Director of Programmes Nicholas Alipui. “Empowering and enabling children makes them less vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.”
'It’s about ability'
The event also marked another special occasion, as UNICEF presented a child-friendly version of the CRPD called 'It’s About Ability: An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities'.
The child-friendly booklet is part of a collaborative effort involving UN partners, Save the Children and disabled people’s organizations. The booklet was developed by UNICEF and the Victor Pineda Foundation, which works with new media to inspire people with disabilities.
“It’s about ability. That’s what it’s about,” said disability activist Victor Pineda. “Hopefully I can inspire other kids with this book to understand all the things that they can do and to help them understand the promises that have been given to them.”
'It's About Ability' will be distributed together with a set of educational materials, currently under development, which are to be used by youth leaders, peer educators, teachers and community workers.
“We must convince more and more nations, organizations and individuals to join this cause,” said Secretary-General Ban.
Victor Pineda introduces "The Making of 'Its About Ability', A Partnership Between UNICEF and The Victor Pineda Foundation," a video about the consultation with children in Sana'a, Yemen in October of 2007 to create a child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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