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Human Rights Advocates Speak Up To End Discrimination Denying Disable Children With The Same Right To Equal Education and Other Opportunities

Experts debating the issue agree children with disabilities must be provided with an education on an equal basis with all children. They consider this a crucial step toward their empowerment and the realization of other key rights.

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Overview of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 26 2018. VOA

Human rights advocates are calling for an end to the discrimination that denies children with disabilities the same right to an equal education and other opportunities available to other children in society. The U.N. Human Rights Council is holding a special session in Geneva on the empowerment of children with disabilities.

In keeping with the theme of the day, the U.N. has made the Council chamber wheelchair-accessible, has hired a sign interpreter for the hearing impaired, and has embossed some oral statements in Braille.

With these accommodations to children with disabilities, the U.N. is sending a message that it practices what it preaches. It is saying children with disabilities will be able to lead a full and fulfilling life on a par with other children if certain adaptations are made to their needs.

FILE - Displaced Syrian children push a boy with disability on makeshift wheelchair at a camp for displaced people in the northern Idlib province, Aug. 29, 2018.
Displaced Syrian children push a boy with disability on makeshift wheelchair at a camp for displaced people in the northern Idlib province, Aug. 29, 2018. VOA

However, the United Nations reports the sad reality is that 93 million children with disabilities around the world are likely to have their rights violated from the moment they are born. It says millions of these children are torn from their families and placed in institutions where they are at risk of violence, abuse and neglect.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, is a medical doctor and a pediatrician. In her practice, she says she quickly learned the voices of disabled children too often go unheard.

FILE - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 5, 2018.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 5, 2018. VOA

“While preparing for today, I was remembering when I just started to be a pediatrician how people will leave the situation of children with disabilities. It was much more complicated. People denied, people hide those children. They will put them sort of in boxes so they will not really be able to develop. They will speak — even doctors in front of the children — like either they did not hear or that they did not exist.”

Experts debating the issue agree children with disabilities must be provided with an education on an equal basis with all children. They consider this a crucial step toward their empowerment and the realization of other key rights.

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They say the empowerment of children with disabilities also depends upon the implementation of laws, policies and measures to tackle harmful social norms and protect them from discrimination, stigma and abuse.

High Commissioner Bachelet says children with disabilities are among the most likely to be left behind and the least likely to be heard. She says they have the right to raise their voices and to be heard in decisions affecting their lives. (VOA)

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1 in 3 Children Under the Age of 5 Undernourished or Overweight

In addition, 340 million children suffer deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals and 40 million under five were overweight or obese, a problem that has exploded in recent years

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Indians, Fatter, Undernourished
More Indians are getting fatter but fewer are undernourished as the nation goes from lessening the impact of hunger to developing the new health issue of obesity. (Representational image). Pixabay

At least one in every three children under five years of age is undernourished or overweight, according to a new Unicef report that sounds the alarm on the consequences of poor diets around the world.

In the report published on Monday, the Unicef warned that millions of children were eating too little of the food they need and too much of what they don’t need, adding “poor diets are now the main risk factor for the global burden of disease”, reports Efe news.

The result, according to Unicef, is that many of them are at risk of poor brain development, learning problems, poor immunity and increased infections and disease.

“Millions of children subsist on an unhealthy diet because they simply do not have a better choice,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

malnutrition
Experts demand actions against poor diets to eradicate any ways of malnutrition by 2030, a global goal set by the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pixabay

The report described the triple burden of malnutrition: undernutrition, hidden hunger and overweight.

In 2018, according to Unicef data, 149 million children under five years of age worldwide were stunted, and just under 50 million were wasted.

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Contrary to common belief, most wasted children were concentrated in Asia rather than in countries facing emergencies.

In addition, 340 million children suffer deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals and 40 million under five were overweight or obese, a problem that has exploded in recent years. (IANS)