Paige Munger is Assistant for Public Policy and Advocacy at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 10% of the worldâ€™s children are disabled. These children are often targets of exclusion, stigmatization, neglect, exploitation, violence and abuse. They face social and structural barriers that produce unequal access to basic services such as health care and education. Literacy rates are lower among children with disabilities; UNESCO estimates that in developing countries, up to 90% of these children do not attend school.
Â At a recent forum at UNICEF on children with disabilities, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake had this clear message: â€śYou will not be forgotten, you will not be overlooked, you count.â€ť
UNICEF fights for all children, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. UNICEF believes that children with disabilities should have the same opportunities to reach their full potential as all other children, and that any denial of their equal rights is a profound loss for society.
In line with this belief, UNICEF strongly supports the ratification of the worldâ€™s newest human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD builds on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by helping ensure that governments take action to remove barriers that keep children with disabilities from realizing their full potential.
It is especially important that the United States ratifies the CRPD and becomes a global leader in the protection of the rights of disabled persons.Â President Obama signed the CRPD, and in May 2012 submitted the CRPD to the Senate for its â€śadvice and consent.â€ť In July, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave its approval, clearing the treaty for a vote in the full Senate.
We need your help to make sure the Senate approves the CRPD before the end of the year! Our friends at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) are mobilizing a massive end-of-year campaign for Americans to call, visit, Facebook, Tweet or e-mail their U.S. Senators to vote for the CRPD. We urge you to add your voice! For information on participating in this campaign, go to the USICD campaign web page.