UNHCR. Child protection Issue Brief : Children with Disabilities (2015)



The Convention on the Rights of the Child (articles 2 and 23) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (article 7) guarantee to children with mental and physical disabilities equal rights to a full and decent life in conditions that ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community. Unfortunately social, cultural, physical, structural and economic barriers often deny children with disabilities equal access to services and opportunities for meaningful participation, while vulnerabilities arising from their situation put them at greater risk of abuse, exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence, neglect and abandonment. A child with disabilities may be seen as a burden on the family and they often remain an invisible group in society. Forced displacement exacerbates their situation and heightens these risk factors. However, displacement situations may also create opportunities for children to access services previously unavailable to them, and work as catalysts for change in attitudes and perceptions towards them.