“Yesterday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged the international community not to forget the vulnerability of children with disabilities. It is because of the fact that their needs are so often overlooked that children with disabilities and their families are at an increased risk of injury, abuse and neglect during emergency situations.” More about the International Conference on Persons with Disabilities in Times of Crisis here…
Original Source: SOS Children’s Villages Canada
An international conference on the situation of persons with disabilities during times of crisis concluded yesterday. UNICEF urged countries not to forget about disabled children in times of emergency.
Yesterday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged the international community not to forget the vulnerability of childrenwith disabilities. It is because of the fact that their needs are so often overlooked that children with disabilities and their families are at an increased risk of injury, abuse and neglect during emergency situations.
The UN adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons in December 1975. As per this important document, persons with disabilities—like all other human beings—have the inherent right to human dignity.
“In times of crisis, it is our responsibility to work in partnership so that children and adults living with disabilities feel that they are involved in the process of building an inclusive response to help prevent injuries and to assist the survivors,” said UNICEF Deputy Director, Rima Salah, at the Fifth International Shafallah Forum on Crisis, Conflict and Disability.
The conference, which brought together 250 participants from 50 countries, was held in Doha, Qatar from January 22nd to 24th. Together, dignitaries and international experts discussed how to make humanitarian action both stronger and more inclusive.
Shafallah Chairman Hassan Ali Bin Ali launched the “One Billion Strong” initiative at the conference. The initiative will raise awareness about disabilities, while promoting rights and education.
Another outcome of the conference was the “Shafallah Declaration,” which commits to involving persons with disabilities in planning, implementation and decision-making processes, including those for emergency planning. At the same time, calls for evidence-based research on the situation of persons with disabilities during crises were also made.
The UN took further steps to ensure that all human rights of disabled persons were respected in 2006, when it adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Conventions, unlike declarations, are legally binding instruments to state parties that sign them.
This Convention speaks directly to the rights of childrenwith disabilities. Article 7, for instance, affirms that states must “ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.”
On the occasion of last year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said that children with disabilities “are often excluded from opportunities to participate in their communities, and are more vulnerable to violence and abuse.”
“Children and adults with disabilities must have a voice. They don’t need special treatment, but equal opportunity and access to resources,” said the UNICEF delegate to this week’s Shafallah conference.