6 Int'l J. Child. Rts. 221 (1998)
The Rights of Disabled Children

handle is hein.journals/intjchrb6 and id is 233 raw text is: LA  The International Journal of Children's Rights 6: 221-227, 1998.  221
W     1998 Kluwer Law International. Printed in the Netherlands.
PRACTICE AND IMPLEMENTATION
The rights of disabled children
GERISON LANSDOWN
Children ' Rights Office, United Kingdom
Giving a focus to the rights of disabled children
One of the many innovatory practices introduced by the Committee on the
Rights of the Child is the annual commitment to a general discussion day
which provides an opportunity to explore a theme of current concern relating
to children in some depth. Past discussion days have focused, for example,
on youth justice, the girl child, the family, the media and children and armed
conflict. In 1997, the theme chosen by the Committee was the rights of
disabled children. 'Children living in a world with AIDS' is the theme for
the Committee's next general discussion day on 5 October 1998.
Whilst it is invidious to pit the claims of one group of children against
another in a competitive bid for attention, there is no doubt that the experi-
ences of many disabled children throughout the world warrant urgent action.
There are 2 billion children in the world, of whom, at a conservative esti-
mate, as many as 100 million are disabled. And the evidence of the life
chances of these children in many parts of the world make grim reading.
Statistics from a range of UN agencies reveal that in many developing coun-
tries 90% of disabled children will not survive beyond 20 years of age,
90% of intellectually impaired children do not survive beyond 5 years of
age, and only 3% get education beyond the basic minimum. Hundreds of
thousands of children with disabilities are condemned to live their lives in
institutions, often deprived not only of any love or affection, but also of the
most basic physical care, warmth and stimulation. Armed conflict and polit-
ical violence, which have such devastating impact on children's lives, also
contribute heavily to the toll of disability. They are now the leading causes of
injury, impairment and physical disability in children and only 3% of children
disabled as a result of war receive any rehabilitative care.
Disabled children have been throughout history, and indeed in many
societies still are, denied access to education, family life, adequate health

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