Children’s Rights for All! Final Conference – 20-21 October 2011 (Brussels, Belgium)
The European Report “Children’s Rights for all! Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for children with intellectual disabilities” revealed that across the whole of Europe, children with intellectual disabilities are highly vulnerable to discrimination, neglect and exclusion.
“Very often, we are forgetting about the most important aim – guaranteeing the joyful childhood” said Maria Herczog, President of Eurochild and a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
“The central problem is to get people to recognise the equal value of children with intellectual disabilities. With the financial crisis, it turns out that children with intellectual disabilities are not a priority. Governments use the financial crisis as an excuse to justify stopping progress in implementing children’s rights, especially in realisation of inclusive education. We need resources and funds but foremost political will and cooperation to make sure every child with an intellectual disability is valued equally. Additional assistance is not a luxury, it is an essential,” explained Maureen Piggot, President of Inclusion Europe.
The report examines the protection of the rights of children with intellectual disabilities related to education, health, abuse, participation, family support and community-based services. Although a number of good practices in promoting their rights have been recorded, the systemic approach to change is missing. The report concludes that the critical lack of information on children with intellectual disabilities significantly impedes the real implementation and monitoring of their rights.
The document was launched during the European Conference on Children’s Rights held on 20-21 October in Brussels. During the event, Inclusion Europe and Eurochild together with representatives from 22 national disability and children’s rights organisations further called on the regional and national governments as well as the European Union to:
- Recognise the right of children with intellectual disabilities to live in the community in their families or family-type settings. Governments are urged to stop placing children in institutions and provide families with appropriate community-based supports.
- Create inclusive opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to express their views and have them respected when decisions are taken on matters affecting them.
- Take over immediate responsibility for multiplying existing experiences in promoting the rights of children with intellectual disabilities in a systemic manner.