Hello readers. We appreciate your taking a moment to join Equity for Children in
recognizing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. December 3rd was designated by
the UN in 1992 as a day to advocate for the rights and welfare of people affected by disabilities
and to increase awareness of the social, political, cultural, and economic factors that shape the
context of living with disabilities.
This year, today’s dialogue is framed within the theme: “Empowering persons with
disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. In order to realize the 2030 Agenda’s
pledge to leave no one behind, our world’s most vulnerable populations must receive special
attention in the international forum. Governments as well as organizations, academics, and the
private sector must play a part in implementing policies and projects aimed at protecting those
most at risk of experiencing exclusion and inequality.
People affected by disabilities confront unique challenges in many aspects of life,
regardless of the level of privilege they are born into or the level of support they receive from
personal relationships and institutions. However, those affected by poverty, inequality, and
social exclusion are left even more vulnerable to rights violations and to receipt of insufficient
care when they are affected by a disability that inhibits their physical or mental ability to
protect themselves, provide for themselves, and know, assert, and fulfill their needs and rights.
Impoverished children, who account for half of the global population in extreme
poverty, are already vulnerable to malnutrition, exclusion, exploitation and inequality. All
children lack developed tools of self-protection, but living with a disability adds an extra layer of
difficulty and vulnerability to a child’s situation. All children must be central aspects of policy
towards the 2030 Agenda, but we must take extra care to protect those confronted by further
sources of disadvantage that leave them virtually defenseless against rights violations.
In a world facing increasing effects of climate change and rapid urban development,
people with disabilities could face heightened risk to personal safety and to equal access if not
effectively incorporated into disaster risk plans and urban development plans. Disabled children
in exposed conditions are in danger of being left unshielded and unable to shield themselves
from the effects of extreme weather conditions as well as to secure themselves during natural
disasters. In the context of urbanization, it is extremely important to consider the role of
children in urban development, particularly with regards to access to services, infrastructure,
and transportation. Sixty percent of the global population will live in urban conditions by 2030,
with the majority of the population under the age of 18. These are only two of the largest issues
to be addressed in ensuring that none of our most vulnerable populations are excluded in our
world’s future. There is much work to be done, and we should all reflect on what role we can
take in fostering inclusiveness and equality for all.