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Urgent need to break barriers for children with disabilities

Children with disabilities have rights to protection and careChildren with disabilities have rights to protection and care
June 16, 2012

On the 22nd anniversary of the Day of the African Child, the huge barrier children with disabilities face has been highlighted, with the child relief agency Plan International calling for “change in the condition” of children.

The theme of this year’s African child day on Saturday June 16, 2012 is, “The Rights of Children with disabilities: The duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfill.”

Disabilities could be mental or physical such as the physically challenged, blind, deaf or dumb persons.

Plan, which is working with children and their communities in West Africa, said children with disabilities and their families constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights and to their inclusion in society.

“In West Africa, children with disabilities and their families continue to experience discrimination, they are not yet fully able to enjoy their basic human rights; with the stigma, many children with disabilities are abandoned or hidden away from society by their parents; despite effort that have been done in terms of advocacy and actions,” the child rights and development agency said.

Plan International further said the abilities of disabled children and their families “are overlooked, their needs are given low priority and their capacities are underestimated.”

 ICC new prosecutor pledge

Taking her oath of office on the eve of the June 16 Day of the African Child, the new Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda said she ‘’will continue to look for innovative methods in collecting evidence to bring further gender crimes and crimes against children to the court.’’

The Gambian juris said this would ensure effective prosecutions of these crimes, while respecting and protecting their victims.

Plan International in a statement to mark the commemoration of the 22nd the African Child Day, said spotlighting placing the theme on children with disabilities “is an opportunity to promote necessary changes to ensure that persons with disabilities, and especially children, are guaranteed the same rights as all other persons.”

According to the child relief agency, said the last two decades have witnessed a gathering global momentum for change and that many countries have already begun to reform their legal and institutional framework and to remove barriers to the participation of persons with disabilities as full members of their communities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, building upon the existing provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, opens a new area in securing the rights of children with disabilities and their families, Plan said.

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