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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.

Also Read: “Violence Against Women And Girls Is The Most Widespread Human Rights Violation on Earth” Activists Campaign to End Violence Against Women

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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Climate Change Affects Developing Countries the Most: UN

The African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change

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Climate Change, Developing Countries
the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change. Pixabay

United Nations officials on Wednesday said developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem.

A joint statement was made by Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former President and UN Special Envoy on El Nino and Climate, and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe during a climate-focused meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Robinson said, “those who suffer the worst effects of climate change are often the least responsible for it”.

She called for the need for climate justice as the least responsible countries suffer the most from the global threat that emanated from climate change, Xinhua news agency reported.

Climate Change, Developing Countries
Developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem. Pixabay

Robinson was appointed UN Special Envoy along with Macharia Kamau of Kenya in 2016 to provide the leadership required to tackle climate-related challenges.

ECA’s Songwe said the African continent could leverage to its advantage in the global fight against the impacts of climate change.

“We didn’t create it, but we can profit the most from it. A climate smart economy is an extremely profitable economy. It’s an economy that will create more jobs and leave us cleaner and better,” Songwe said.

Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Justice Alliance, said during the discussion climate justice was not getting the priority it deserved from governments.

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“Africa is most affected and impacted by climate change, but we don’t do much about it. We need strong governance systems to move the climate discourse and actions forward,” he said.

He urged the ECA to fortify collaboration with the African Union and the African Development Bank in line with the ClimDev-Africa programme that’s mandated by African leaders to create a solid foundation for Africa’s response to climate change. (IANS)