Unicef calls for focus on disabled kids' potential

Dhaka, June 23 (IANS) Children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children could achieve than what they could not, the Unicef has said.

Releasing its annual State of the World's Children's report Sunday in Bangladesh, the Unicef said concentrating on the abilities and potential of children with disabilities would create benefits for society as a whole, Xinhua reported.

It said by a wide estimate, some 93 million children -- or one in 20 of those aged 14 or younger -- live with a moderate or severe disability of some kind.

For many children with disabilities, exclusion begins in the first days of life with their birth going unregistered, the report said. Lacking official recognition, they are cut off from social services and legal protection, crucial to their survival and prospects, it added.

It said more efforts to support integration of children with disabilities would help tackle their discrimination.

On this occasion, Unicef representative Pascal Villeneuve urged the government and other partners to ensure that children with disabilities were a part of the daily lives of their families, communities and societies.

"They must be visible, valued and seen as active participants and contributors, rather than beneficiaries of charity."

The report states that children with disabilities are the least likely to receive health care or go to school.

Such children are among those most vulnerable to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly if they were hidden or put in institutions because of social stigma or the economic cost of raising them.

The combined result is that children with disabilities are among the most marginalised people in the world, the report said. It described gender as a key factor, as girls with disabilities are less likely than boys to receive food and care.

Stating that there was little accurate data on the number of children with disabilities, the kind of their disabilities and how disabilities affect their lives, the report said, as a result, few governments have a dependable guide for allocating resources to support and assist children with disabilities and their families.

The State of the World's Children report is Unicef's annual assessment of the well-being of children worldwide, with country by country and region by region statistics.

Every year the report explores a specific challenge to child well-being. The 2013 edition highlights children living with disabilities.

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