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Child Protection Forum for Central Asia paves the way forward to include children with disabilities

DUSHANBE, 1 August 2013 – A Child Protection Forum began today to discuss the road ahead for governments and partners to realize the rights of children with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable, excluded and invisible groups in society.

The Fourth Child Protection Forum for Central Asia on 1-3 August is being hosted by the Government of Tajikistan and UNICEF. It serves as a high-level platform to advocate for inclusion through strengthening family support and tailored responses, which will benefit everyone - children with and without disabilities, their families and societies.

"The Convention on the Rights of the Child was one of the first international conventions ratified by the Republic of Tajikistan after its independence,” said Ruqiya Qurbonova, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Government of Tajikistan and Chairperson of the Commission on the Child Rights at the Forum`s opening.    

“Tajikistan is taking steps towards the eventual ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which enhances the measures we have already been taking for the establishment of inclusive services, policies and systems to ensure that children with disabilities enjoy their rights as all other children."

''Developing intersectoral responses to strengthen inclusive policies, systems and services is the best way to provide families and communities with the necessary support so that each child with a disability can reach his or her full potential,'' said UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Marie-Pierre Poirier. She called on governments to sign, ratify and fully implement the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

''For children with disabilities to survive and thrive and be protected, we must work together to ensure they have access to inclusive services from the earliest years and are able to grow up in caring families,'' she said. “Societies which fulfill, respect and protect the rights of children with disabilities will grow and prosper.”

Among the key recommendations are: 
  • Providing families with appropriate health, education, protection and social services to allow them to care and protect their children with disabilities.  
  • Stepping up the fight to end discrimination of children with disabilities involving the general public, decision-makers and public service providers.
  • Generating reliable and comparable data needed to guide planning and resource allocation. For childen to be visible, they must first be registered.     
Governments in the region are starting to develop appropriate social policies aimed at supporting families to care and protect their own children rather than placing them in the care of the State. Such social policies must be extended to children with disabilities and their families.    

Central Asian countries will share their promising practices and outline their commitments. Selected experience from other countries will be presented. The Forum will also take inspiration from children with disabilities, their parents and professionals who have direct experiences from working with children with disabilities. 

The bi-annual Forum is attended by a wide range of high ranking government Ministers: Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers in social welfare, development, health, education and labour and other officials; ombudspersons, parliamentarians, representatives from the UN, the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, experts, children with disabilities and their families, disabled people`s organizations, NGOs and international organizations.

Media contacts:

Parveena Muhammedkhajaeva
UNICEF Tajikistan
Tel: +992-44 6000190
Mobile: +992-918310071

John Budd
UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Communication Chief
Tel: +41 909 5429



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