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UNICEF marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and calls the Government to redouble efforts for families caring for children with disabilities

Tuesday, December 4
December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and on its 20th anniversary UNICEF calls attention to the importance of promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and to mobilize support to build a more inclusive society.

While commemorating this International Day in Georgia, UNICEF calls the Government of Georgia to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to redouble efforts to reach families caring for children with disabilities, prevent abandonment and reduce stigma. In particular, it is important to promote day care and early intervention services, especially for families with children with special needs and to increase the number of services at local levels as well as the government’s funding.

People with disabilities remain one of the largest overlooked minorities in the world. Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. This includes around 93 million children with disabilities who face discrimination in every aspect of their lives.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” and UNICEF is asking partners to join efforts to make this a reality. UNICEF is working around the world, including Georgia, with governments, donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and organizations of persons with disabilities, towards creating an inclusive and accessible society for children with disabilities. UNICEF believes that an inclusive society will benefit not only children and adults with disabilities, but the entire population.

Barriers for children with disabilities and their families exist in different forms, including for example through negative attitudes, policies and legislation which discriminate and are not inclusive, or when the physical environment is not accessible. Whether it is being accepted in school or on the playground, accessing health services, basic nutrition or being included in emergency response, children with disabilities encounter barriers on an everyday basis, which prevent them from participating equally in the society. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which came into force in 2008 recognizes that often these barriers are more disabling than an individual’s impairment itself.

In the words of UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake, “Imagine a world where all children are included…involved. Where their talents are celebrated…where their contributions are recognized. Where they count. That is the world towards which UNICEF is working.”

"Together We Can!"