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Tackling the rights of disabled children

© UNICEF Tajikistan 2007
Children 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 Children’s Day
DUSHANBE/TAJIKISTAN, 1 June, 2007 – Up to 2,000 children celebrated the rights of disabled children today in a rally in one of Dushanbe’s major parks.

They gathered in Central Children Park, Dushanbe, in an event jointly hosted by the city mayor's office, as part of Tajikistan’s marking of International Children’s Day. This year the event will focus on children with disabilities who for many decades in Tajikistan have faced exclusion from society.

UNICEF’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 essential services they need, including, delayed diagnosis, low quality of health care and social services, expensive procedures along with cumbersome documentation requirements 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 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 choice available to children with disabilities is to stay at home thus 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 institutionalization 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 have been organised across the country, including meetings with children, contests among creative youth groups, puppet shows, organization of recreation programmes in parks and public spaces.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information please contact:

Mukaddas Kurbanova, Communication Officer, UNICEF Tajikistan: Tel +992 48 701-14-89; Email mkurbanova@unicef.org




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