Children with disabilities
Ensuring inclusive policy and action to provide access to services
Children with disabilities in Myanmar struggle to access their rights and to fully participate in society.
A study supported by UNICEF shows that children with disabilities are much less likely to access services in health or education, rarely have their voices heard, and face significant daily discrimination.
In addition, the study revealed that 87 per cent of children with disabilities surveyed did not visit a doctor and 20 per cent of surveyed children said they were bullied.
Better coordination and more inclusive policies and systems are needed across different sectors to ensure that all national services and initiatives are fully inclusive for children with disabilities.
Children with disabilities are five times less likely to attend school than other children.
The UNICEF study on the situation of children with disabilities has filled key knowledge gaps and highlighted urgent areas for action. This includes ensuring inclusive policy and planning so that children with disabilities can access key services in health, education and water and sanitation as a matter of basic policy and as a matter of their rights. Societal attitudes that regard people with disabilities as exceptional, or as objects of pity rather than people with their own agency, are an important barrier to more inclusion.
Myanmar has taken significant steps in recent years to improve the situation for people with disabilities living in a context of severe exclusion. After signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the country passed a national law on disability rights and formed the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
UNICEF continues to support capacity building in key Government ministries and national bodies to boost systems to implement the new laws and policies. This includes supporting the Government in pilot tests for a new registration system for disabilities – an important tool to ensure that national initiatives in health, education and water and sanitation have the information they need to properly integrate the needs of people with disabilities.