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Children with disabilities in situations of armed conflict - a discussion paper

THOMAS, Edward
et al
November 2018

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During armed conflict, children with disabilities are caught in a vicious cycle of violence, social polarization, deteriorating services and deepening poverty. Global estimates suggest there are between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities under the age of 15.Given that disability is often not reported due to stigma there is reason to believe actual prevalence could be much higher. Although efforts to ensure the fulfilment of their rights have improved, girls and boys with disabilities continue to remain among the most marginalized and excluded segment of the population. This is amplified during situations of armed conflict. The barriers to full participation they face on a day-to-day basis are intensified and compounded when infrastructure is destroyed, and services and systems are compromised and made inaccessible. This results in the further exclusion and marginalization of children with disabilities, and prevents them from accessing schooling, health and psychosocial support, or a means of escape from conflict.

 

When systems and services break down, children are also left more susceptible to violence. Injuries sustained by many children during armed conflict may also lead to long-term impairments. There are six grave violations of children’s rights and protection in armed conflict that are on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council; killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, rape or other sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. Governments around the world have committed themselves to respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of children with disabilities, including in situations of armed conflict, and progress is being made. Efforts by a broad range of actors to implement the CRPD, CRC and other human rights instruments include the development of standards to address the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian crises, and guidance on making humanitarian response, development and peacebuilding more inclusive. Efforts to improve the collection and use of data concerning children and adults with disabilities are also underway. Yet, as this discussion paper makes clear, much more needs to be done. Investments in disability-inclusive humanitarian action and recovery from crises will pay off, contributing towards a dividend of peace built on greater equality, tolerance and justice. 

Young persons with disabilities: Global study on ending gender-based violence, and realising sexual and reproductive health and rights

McCLOSKEY, Megan
MEYERS, Stephen
July 2018

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This study provides an analysis on the situation of young persons with disabilities concerning discrimination and gender-based violence, including the impact on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. It also provides an assessment of legal, policy and programming developments and specific good practices in service delivery as well as best-standard prevention and protection measures. Finally, policy and programming recommendations are provided to assist in greater promotion of the rights of young persons with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on preventing and responding to gender-based violence, and realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“They Stay until They Die” A lifetime of isolation and neglect in institutions for people with disabilities in Brazil

RIOS-ESPINOSA, Carlos
et al
May 2018

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This report documents a range of abuses against children and adults with disabilities in residential institutions in Brazil. The research is based on direct observations during visits to 19 institutions (known in Brazil as shelters and care homes), including 8 for children, as well as 5 inclusive residences for people with disabilities. In addition, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 171 people, including children with disabilities and their families, adults with disabilities in institutions, disability rights advocates, representatives of non–governmental organizations, including disabled persons organizations, staff in institutions, and government officials.

 

Research was carried out between November 2016 and March 2018 in the states of São Paulo (including São Paulo and Campinas), Rio de Janeiro (including Rio de Janeiro, Duque de Caxias, Niteroi and Nova Friburgo), Bahia (Salvador) and Distrito Federal (including Brasilia and Ceilândia).

Invisible victims of sexual violence. Access to justice for women and girls with disabilities in India

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
April 2018

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This report is based on 17 cases of sexual violence against women and girls with disabilities in eight Indian states. It comes five years after The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (the 2013 amendments) were adopted in India. It follows Human Rights Watch’s November 2017 report “Everyone Blames Me”: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India, which found that rape survivors still face significant barriers obtaining justice and critical support services because legal and other reforms have not been fully realised.

This report finds that while the 2013 amendments have made significant progress in responding to the widespread challenges that victims of sexual violence endure, they have yet to properly develop and implement support for survivors with disabilities in the form of trainings and reforms throughout the criminal justice system. It highlights gaps in enforcement and calls for concrete measures to address the needs of women and girls with disabilities seeking justice for abuse. 

“When will I get to go home?” Abuses and discrimination against children in institutions and lack of access to quality inclusive education in Armenia

BUCHANAN, Jane
February 2017

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This report documents how thousands of children in Armenia live in orphanages, residential special schools for children with disabilities, and other institutions. The report is based on Human Rights Watch visits to five state-run orphanages and ten state-run schools, including six special schools and four mainstream schools, and interviews with 173 people, in eight cities in Armenia. They interviewed 47 children and young adults, and 63 families of children living in orphanages, attending special schools or attending mainstream schools. They also interviewed directors of orphanages, special schools, and mainstream schools, as well as social workers, doctors, teachers, psychologists, caregivers, and other staff in institutions

Topics include: overview of residential institutions in Armenia; institutionalization of children and young adults and discrimination in the deinstitutionalization process; problems for children and young adults in residential institutions; lives transformed; national and international legal obligations; failure to guarantee quality education to children with disabilities; other forms of education for children with disabilities; government and donors’ response; recommendations

African Disability Rights Yearbook volume 5 2017

NGWENA, Charles
et al
2017

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This volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook is divided into four sections presenting articles, country reports, commentaries on regional developments and a book review. The first section A of the journal presents a number of articles on issues affecting people with disabilities in Africa, ranging from education and rights of children with disabilities to albinism. Section B presents country reports on Djibouti and Madagascar. Section C presents two articles: one on mental health and the other on disability rights developments in the East African Community post-2012. Finally a review of E. Barnes’s 2016 book "The minority body: A theory of disability" is given.

 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (theme: access to rights-based support for persons with disabilities)

DEVANDAS, Catalina
December 2016

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In her report, the Special Rapporteur provides an overview of the activities undertaken in 2016, as well as a thematic study on access to support by persons with disabilities. The study includes guidance for States on how to ensure the provision of different forms of rights-based support and assistance for persons with disabilities, in consultation with them. In preparing the study, the Special Rapporteur convened a regional expert consultation in Addis Ababa in September 2016 and analysed the responses to a questionnaire sent to Member States, national human rights institutions, agencies of the United Nations system, civil society organisations and persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. As at 5 December 2016, she had received 114 responses. 

Women and girls with disabilities. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. General comment No. 3 (2016). Article 6.

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2016

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"International and national laws and policies on disability have historically neglected aspects related to women and girls with disabilities. In turn, laws and policies addressing women have traditionally ignored disability". "Article 6 serves as an interpretation tool to approach the responsibilities of States parties across the Convention, to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of women and girls with disabilities, from a human rights-based approach and a development perspective". These general comments take the form of an introduction, normative content, states parties’ obligations, the interrelationship of article 6 with other articles of the Convention (perspectives of women with disabilities in CRPD provisions) and national implementation

No justice : torture, trafficking and segregation in Mexico

RODRIGUEZ, Priscila
ROSENTHAL, Eric
GUERRERO, Humberto
July 2015

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This report presents the findings of Disability Rights International (DRI)'s two-year investigation into the treatment of children and adults with mental disabilities in Mexico City which found a pattern of egregious and widespread human rights violations. The investigation found that in Mexico City having a disability can mean a life of detention and uncovered the existence of a “blacklist” of particularly abusive institutions that the Mexico City authorities are aware of – yet they permit these facilities to operate. DRI visited five of 25 facilities on the blacklist and specifically highlight the findings from Mama Rosa and Casa Esperanza, which was so abusive that DRI filed a formal complaint to DIF and sought immediate action by DIF to protect detainees. The report outlines the overall findings and how Mexico can take steps toward reform and justice calling for immediate steps to enforce the basic human rights of people with disabilities and outlines

Note: the report is available in pdf and word versions in both English and Spanish

Changing attitudes to child disability in Africa

THE LANCET
December 2014

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This brief editorial published in the Lancet highlights the situation of disabled children in Africa with reference to the 2014 publication of The African Report on Children with Disabilities by The African Child Policy Forum

 

The Lancet, Vol 384, No. 9959

Nairobi declaration : inclusive post-2015 development agenda for persons with disabilities in Africa

INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY ALLIANCE (IDA)
et al
March 2014

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The Nairobi declaration calls for a more inclusive post-2015 agenda with a specific demand that development agenda targets and indicators explicitly include persons with disabilities. This document succinctly summarises the issues faced by persons with disabilities in Africa and their specific demands to enable greater inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda. It was adopted by persons with disabilities from Africa, representatives of national, sub-regional and Pan-African disabled people’s organisations, on the 8th of March during the Nairobi conference “Inclusive post 2015 development agenda and UN CRPD in Africa”, organised by the International Disability Alliance in partnership with the International Disability and Development Consortium, UNICEF and the UN Partnership to promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“Inclusive post 2015 development agenda and UN CRPD in Africa”

8 March 2014

Nairobi, Kenya

Signs for a good education

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
October 2013

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This video highlights some of the challenges faced by deaf children and young people, and the opportunities sign language education offers them

Teachers for all : inclusive teaching for children with disabilities

LEWIS, Ingrid
BAGREE, Sunit
July 2013

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This paper provides detail about the context and scale of the challenges of the global shortage of inclusive teachers for children with disabilities. It then outlines five broad issues that need addressing if we are to prepare, recruit and support enough teachers, with appropriate skills, to educate every child, including those with disabilities

The state of the world’s children 2013 : children with disabilities

THE UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)
May 2013

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This report examines "the barriers from inaccessible buildings to dismissive attitudes, from invisibility in official statistics to vicious discrimination - that deprive children with disabilities of their rights and keep them from participating fully in society. The report also lays out some of the key elements of inclusive societies that respect and protect the rights of all children, regardless of disability, and progress in helping all children to flourish and make their contribution to the world"

Disability orientation

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF)
May 2013

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"This web-based disability orientation for staff is a multi-media, 40-minute video that includes interesting and thought provoking statements, resources and good practices from UNICEF and partners from across the globe. The objective of the orientation is to strengthen understanding of, and capacity to support, programming for children and women with disabilities. The Disability Orientation consists of two main modules, each module has five lessons. The first part of the Orientation provides an overview of the disability movement and what disability means according to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The second part of the Orientation focusses on how to mainstream disability through our work. The Orientation on Disability can be taken individually or in groups"
Note: Video is available with English subtitles as well as accessibility options like voice over and American Sign Language

Children and young people with disabilities : factsheet

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)
May 2013

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"This Fact Sheet on children with disabilities provides a global snapshot of the key issues affecting the lives of children with disabilities and an overview of evidence currently available. It is not a comprehensive review, but rather is intended to provide a starting point for approaching policies and programmes that can make a difference in the lives of these children, their families and their communities. Knowledge and understanding of the barriers and challenges faced by children with disabilities is essential if their rights are to be realised"

Inclusive education : an introduction

SHAW, Diana
2013

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This publication explores LCD’s approach to inclusive education and highlights their projects in Africa and Asia that support children with disabilities to get the education that they, and all children, deserve

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