This literature review originated as part of an exploratory study of beggars with disabilities in Ethiopia, reported on in ILO Working Paper No. 141 published in 2013. It has been updated and is published separately here, as a contribution to debates on the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities, on poverty reduction and social protection. Beggars with disabilities are among the poor and disadvantaged in society. Yet they are virtually invisible in the policy agenda of countries around the world, and indeed are overlooked in advocacy efforts to improve opportunities for people with disabilities in general. This is the case, even in countries that have ratified and are moving to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD requires States to promote the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others; and emphasises the importance of fostering respect for their rights and dignity, and raising awareness of their capabilities and contributions, as well as the need to combat prejudices and stereotype in all areas of life. Coming to an understanding of why people with disabilities end up as beggars on the streets of towns and cities around the world is important if the vision of the CRPD is to make a difference to persons with disabilities at all levels of society. It is also relevant to the discussions taking place about the adoption of a post-2015 development framework, in which poverty reduction and the promotion of decent work opportunities for all women and men are likely to feature prominently.
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