See Me, Hear Me. A Guide to Using UNCRPD to Promote Rights of Children

See Me, Hear Me. A Guide to Using UNCRPD to Promote Rights of Children

Save the Children

 The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides a clear focus on the obligations of governments in ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities are protected. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its reviews of State Party reports, has found consistent evidence of the challenges faced by children with disabilities in realising their rights. There are an estimated 200 million children with disabilities across the world, more than 80% of whom live in the developing world with little or no access
to healthcare or education. They are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, experience physical and sexual violence, be denied a voice, and lack access to family life, information, play, sport, art or culture. Indeed, in the overwhelming number of countries reviewed, it has been necessary to make recommendations for action to overcome neglect or violation of rights.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child therefore strongly welcomes the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which emphasises that the
barriers to the enjoyment of rights lie not in the disability itself, but in the social, physical, economic, cultural and attitudinal barriers faced by people, including children, with disabilities. It will serve as a powerful and complementary tool to the Convention on the Rights of the Child: while the latter establishes the human
rights of children, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides the detailed elaboration of the measures needed for their realisation. The Committee hopes that there will be rapid and widespread
ratification of the new Convention and its optional protocol.

However, adoption and ratification, although vital, is obviously not sufficient. The Convention must also be implemented. Civil society organisations will continue to play a central role in ensuring that this happens. The advocacy that has been so successful at international level now needs to be replicated at national level, with those working for disability and for children’s rights collaborating and utilising each others’ knowledge and expertise. Joint advocacy will have the greatest impact in persuading governments to introduce the necessary
legislation, policies, resources, public awareness campaigns and government structures to achieve real change in the lives of children with disabilities.
This guide represents a significant contribution towards that process. Its detailed analysis of the two conventions, and their interrelationship, together with practical guidance on strategies for advocacy and illustrations of good practice, make it an invaluable tool for practitioners committed to bringing an end to discrimination against children with disabilities. The hurdles to be overcome are very high. This guide
should contribute to ensuring that they are not insurmountable.