Rights of persons with disabilities and international cooperation

In this Notebook, we propose one of the priority themes of international cooperation: care and social inclusion of people with disabilities.

Over one billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. At least one-fifth of these, some 110-190 million individuals, face “very significant” difficulties in everyday life. Furthermore, disability rates are increasing due to the aging of the population. These data are contained in the first World Report on Disability, developed by the World Health Organization and the World Bank and whose original text can be found on the WHO website.

Among the issues highlighted: Discrimination, together with lack of health care and rehabilitation, comes first, followed by architectural barriers: public transport, inaccessible buildings, and information technology.

The consequences of these difficulties that accompany the lives of people with disabilities are generally more precarious health than the average, poorer educational and professional opportunities, poverty, and a lower level of education, precisely because of the difficulties in accessing higher education. The difference between the percentage of disabled children and the percentage of able-bodied children attending primary school ranges from 10% in India to 60% in Indonesia. The deficiency in the school’s integrative system is obviously also reflected in the realities of work. Overall data show that work rates are lower for men (53%) and women with disabilities (20%), compared to able-bodied men (65%) and women (30%). Moreover, in OECD countries, the percentage of disabled people in employment is 44%, compared to 75% for the able-bodied. The data collected shows that in many countries rehabilitation services are inadequate. The data collected in four countries in Southern Africa show that only 26-55% of disabled people received the medical rehabilitation they needed, while only 17-37% got the necessary medical devices (wheelchairs, prostheses, hearing aids).

Even in high-income countries, between 20% and 40% of people with disabilities are generally unable to meet their needs in everyday activities. Through the report attached to this discouraging report, WHO and the World Bank urge governments to renew their efforts to provide this large segment of the population access to essential services and to invest in targeted programs to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals has given the issue of disability a new centrality in international development strategies. In many Objectives, we find direct references to persons with disabilities: n.4 (education), n. 8 (employment), n.10 (inequalities), and n.11 (sustainable cities) all closely linked by human rights approach. It is important to highlight the interdependence of the objectives and related targets with particular reference to education, health, violence, especially gender-based violence, emergency, accessibility, and training.

The Italian cooperation has approved the Guidelines for Disability that you can find on their institutional website.

Armadilla, in line with the principles established at the international level, has made a consistent commitment by proposing in its interventions in this sector a participatory approach that provides for the active involvement of the community, central and local institutions, and civil society, promoting multidisciplinarity and intersectionality.

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