Prime Minister challenged over disabled people and development

By staff writers
6 Nov 2012

UK-based disability charities have called on Prime Minister David Cameron to put disabled people at the heart of international development plans.

Currently, the one billion disabled people worldwide are not effectively included within the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The PM, who is under fire for heading a government which is slashing welfare benefits for disabled people domestically, chaired an international summit on poverty in London on Thursday 1 November 2012.

A 'High Level Panel of Eminent Persons' is developing recommendations about what should replace the current Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets to reduce global poverty and improve living standards which run until 2015.

Many disabled people across the world are currently excluded from society and at a far greater risk of being trapped in extreme poverty.

Half of disabled people are out of work and of the 61 million children now out of school worldwide, one third have disabilities.

Head of Programmes Co-ordination at Christian charity The Leprosy Mission, Sian Arulanantham, commented: "We are lobbying for disability to be specifically included in the new post-2015 framework. This will oblige national governments to improve access to education, employment, healthcare and social support for disabled people."

The Leprosy Mission is a member of the Bond Disability and Development Group (DDG) which brings together UK-based international development and disability organisations to ensure that disabled people's concerns are addressed at the highest level.

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of ADD International and co-chair of the DDG, said: "There is currently not a clear enough focus on disabled people within international efforts to tackle poverty. This means that they miss out on having an education, a job, and an equal chance for full participation in society - things that most of us take for granted."

He continued: "Disabled people must be included in the post-2015 framework targets so they have the same opportunities in life. Ultimately, extreme poverty cannot be eradicated without including people with disabilities in international development policies."

[Ekk/3]

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