UNICEF and the ‘Zamin’ International Public Foundation join efforts to strengthen the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities by promoting their access to services, engagement and participation
TASHKENT, 19 November 2021 – Today, the ‘Zamin’ Foundation and UNICEF held a high-level international forum on “Ensuring inclusion for children with disabilities”. The event – which was dedicated to World Children’s Day, annually celebrated on 20 November, and to UNICEF’s 75th anniversary - focused on how to overcome the challenges faced by children with disabilities and create a more inclusive and enabling environment for them to grow and reach their full potential.
Representatives of national institutions, civil society, heads of UN agencies, experts from international and regional organizations and foreign public foundations, the diplomatic corps, as well as children and young people took part in the event.
“The rights and freedoms of all children must be guaranteed equally. Their interests should be prioritized. Every child in the world deserves it. Children with disabilities are full members of society. Undoubtedly, it is very important to provide them with the necessary conditions for an active and full-fledged life",- said the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Zamin Foundation, Ziroat Mirziyoyeva.
“UNICEF welcomes the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Government of Uzbekistan, and the development of the draft National Action Plan for its implementation,” said Ms. Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “It is now critical to operationalize the Convention at the national level, by establishing a sound legislative and policy framework, effective coordination structures, and ensuring the meaningful participation of organizations of people with disabilities.”
International experts at the conference shared good practices on how to create stronger and more cohesive communities through the development of accessible, inclusive, rights-based and age-appropriate community services that support the inclusion of children, women and men with disabilities, help prevent institutionalisation, and address violence and abuse.
During the event, Ms. Mirziyoyeva and Ms. Khan also announced the launch of a nationwide campaign with the goal of ending stigma and discrimination against children with disabilities. They urged all stakeholders - organizations of persons with disabilities, government counterparts, private sector and media partners, community leaders and influencers - to join UNICEF and the Zamin Foundation in the journey to leave no one behind.
This one-year-long initiative – called ‘Barriers’ - will aim to promote access to essential services for people with disabilities, raise awareness of the barriers that prevent them from accessing these services, and transform the public discourse and narrative around disability to ensure children with disabilities are - and feel - protected, respected and included in their communities.
To show its support for children’s rights, on the eve of the World Children’s Day Uzbekistan is also joining UNICEF’s ‘Turn the world blue’ global campaign. On 19 and 20 November, more than 100 modern and historic buildings across Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Fergana, Kashkadarya, the Republic of Karakalpakstan and other regions will shine up blue for every child in the country and beyond.