Unforutnately, work has intervened in my podcasting, so expect delays. One of the more recent projects that I had the privilege of working on that impacts policy and ‘disability’ is more international in nature. The year 2007 marks the mid decade point for the Plan of Action of “A World Fit for Children“. The Plan of Action is a commitment by world leaders from more than 180 countries to protect and promote children’s rights. You can find out more at: http://www.unicef.org/worldfitforchildren/.
In response a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) put forward statements for the occasion. My office (Public Interest – Government Relations) worked collaboratively with APA’s Office on International Relations and other NGOs in creating the Official Statement of the NGO Committee on UNICEF – Emerging Themes from NGOs on the World Fit for Children(+5) Commemoration based on the Report of the Secretary General Follow-up to the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children.
I believe that one of the most important paragraphs in the document is #3 addressing discrimination:
3. As countries’ average per capita incomes grow and progress is made towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, inequity and discrimination is still prevalent, and in some parts of the world the gap is becoming greater (p.17, para. 84). Government programs to specifically combat discrimination based on such factors as gender, ethnicity, social status, religion, disability, migrant, or refugee status, are necessary to address pervasive inequities in children’s access to health care and education. Such initiatives can have a positive influence on the development of children who are subject to such discrimination.
In international arenas there is usually significant discussion on economic growth and development. With regard to children there is also an emphasis on education, violence prevention and health care acess. However, for many children, discrimination can be a significant barrier to their access to the same services and supports as their peers. This is true for girls, and racial and ethnic minority children, but it is especially true for children with disabilities. In addition, the disparity between children with disabilities and those without are prevalent in both developing and developed countries which is what makes this such a key issue that must be addressed directly.