NEW YORK, United States of America, 3 December 2012 - Stigma, ignorance, neglect, superstition and communication barriers are among the social factors that explain the discrimination and isolation from society that children with disabilities face.
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Disability is a social issue. It results from the interaction between people with “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others” (Article 1, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability).
Disability is not the impairment itself, but rather attitudes and environmental barriers that result in disability. Children with disabilities are often ‘invisible’ to service providers, and they are at greater risk of violence than their non-disabled peers. Children with disabilities are often disproportionately placed in alternative care, rather than remaining with their families.
These issues raise concerns for their protection.
UNICEF’s strategy is to promote both the recognition of all children as full members of society and the respect for all of their rights without any discrimination. We work with partners to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities into society by stimulating changes in attitudes and practices of the general public and service providers toward children with disabilities.
UNICEF also works with governments to help ensure that family members of persons with disabilities, who are often the primary caretakers, and children with disabilities themselves, receive assistance from the State for disability-related expenses, adequate training, counselling, financial assistance and respite care. We also support efforts to ensure that all programmes, including recreational programmes, public services, facilities and relevant buildings, are accessible.