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                                                      Disability Inclusion

                                                      At least 93-150 million children in the world live with a disability. Many more live in families where adults or caregivers have a disability. Persons with disabilities account for 15% of the world’s population with 80% living in low-middle income countries. Despite efforts to ensure inclusive societies most persons with disabilities, especially children, experience a range of barriers to equitable participation in and across society. Prejudices, negative attitudes, traditions and inadequate knowledge and poor resourcing present obstacles for children with disabilities in accessing their rights, including identity, having their voices heard, getting an education, staying safe and being healthy. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) is the foundation for Save the Children’s work. The UN CRC states that children with disabilities have the same rights as other children. This means that they have the right to grow up in an environment that supports their development, that they have the right to express their opinions, to be heard and that they are entitled to an education. The rights of children with disabilities are reinforced in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). States which have signed these conventions are responsible for promoting and fulfilling the rights of all children, including children with disabilities. Article 2 of the UN CRC, which is one of four fundamental principles, prescribes that no one should be discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, sex or disability. However, discrimination and exclusion are common for the majority of people with a disability, particularly children. They are often an invisible group in important policies and plans. National policies and plans on education seldom have enough focus on children with a disability and their inclusion. Another challenge is that children with a disability are often considered victims and lack the capacity to influence their own situation. Save the Children accepts and respects children with disabilities as part of human diversity and promotes the inherent dignity, individual autonomy and independence of all children with disabilities. Save the Children advocates for the realization of the rights of children with disabilities and to ensure that they have the same opportunities, receive proper support and education and that they are empowered to influence their own situation.

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