UN summit opens in honor of one billion people with disabilities

Dr. Rosanne Silberman and Michael Delaney listen intently to Ambassador Camacho as he gestures toward himself and speaks into the microphone on the table where all are seated.

Mexico's permanent representative to the United Nations, Juan José Gómez Camacho (far right) spoke passionately about the need to include all children in global education efforts, joining Perkins International Executive Director Michael Delaney and Hunter College professor Dr. Rosanne Silberman on a UN panel where Perkins International Academy was officially launched.

June 13, 2017

Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, a situation that many governments have failed to recognize in national development plans.

The United Nations today launched its tenth annual conference to boost the rights of people with disabilities, which total billions around the world and often suffer from prejudice, discrimination and lack of opportunity.

Scheduled until June 15, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intends to reduce high levels of unemployment and low political participation, as well as increase access to health and education.

According to a report by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, most of the 1 billion people with disabilities in the world live in the poorest countries. One in five individuals in the developing world has a disability, according to the paper.

In that sense, the report stated that disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, despite the fact that governments have often failed to recognize this issue in national development plans.

According to the UN, for example, girls and women with disabilities suffer three times more episodes of violence than those who do not have such a problem, as well as being 10 times more likely to be sexually abused.

Another disadvantage is in the field of education. In that sense, the civil organization Perkins International Academy presented an initiative Tuesday to train one million teachers in the world to educate children with visual impairments coupled with another type of limitation.

According to Perkins, there are 12 million children in the world with visual impairment, of whom half suffer from another limitation.

Juan José Gómez Camacho, Mexico's representative to the UN and himself a visually impaired person, participated in the presentation of the Perkins International Academy initiative.

Children with visual disabilities and with additional disabilities have all the potential to learn and much to offer their communities.

The Mexican representative stressed that promoting global access to quality education for the most vulnerable children favors the whole society, which thus becomes increasingly inclusive.

Meanwhile, the general meeting of the CRPD was attended by Mercedes Juan, director general of the National Council for Equality of Disabilities (Conadis), who said that Mexico has the most solid legal framework in history to protect this segment of the population.

He emphasized in this regard that the National Development Plan contemplates in order to close the gaps of social inequality issues such as gender equity and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Juan also acknowledged that Mexico still has its own work to be done, such as granting legal capacity to people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, and expanding schemes to improve the living conditions of an aging population and that therefore tends to present greater disabilities.

Click to view the original version in Spanish.