Children with intellectual disabilities contribute to hugely successful UN event
Published: 30 September 2014
|Inclusion Europe organised an important meeting.
The meeting was at the United Nations.
The United Nations is a very big organisation.
It has members all around the world.
The meeting took place in Geneva.
Geneva is a city in Swizerland.
At the meeting, four young self-advocates spoke.
They said that people should listen to children with intellectual disabilities.
Children with intellectual disabilities should be able to make decisions
about their own lives.
They should also be given accessible information.
So they can make the right decisions.
Many people went to the event.
It is very important to help children with disabilities be heard.
“If you want to hear my story, you have to be prepared to listen,” Stani, a young person with an intellectual disability, told two United Nations (UN) Committees in what proved to be one of the best-attended UN side events ever. On 26 September, Stani along with Leo, Yoyo and Dominik, four teenage self-advocates, kept the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities engaged through photos, videos and heartfelt speeches.
Their words echoed the thoughts of children with disabilities around the world. While even children with the most severe impairments can express opinions, adults are often not prepared, or equipped, to truly hear them. However, the 6 members of the CRC Committee and 13 members of the CRPD Committee present did take note, deeming it a privilege to be able to listen to the teenagers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Spain.
"We cannot make decisions about the lives of children with disabilities without listening to them," said CRPD Committee member Ana Peláez Narváez.
The event, which gathered more than 100 participants, was organized in the framework of Inclusion Europe’s Hear our Voices Project, in collaboration with Lumos, Eurochild, UNICEF and the International Disability Alliance. The project aims to make sure that all children, regardless of their disabilities are able to meaningfully participate in all aspects of their lives.
“Children with intellectual disabilities should be involved in every stage of the policy processes,” said Inclusion Europe President Maureen Piggot. The organisers also highlighted the need for appropriate complaints procedures and feedback mechanisms should be put in place for children with disabilities, along with training to become self-advocates. Accessible information was also deemed crucial, as the self-advocates emphasized that misunderstanding often leads to labeling of children with intellectual disabilities.
The event was carried out with support from the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union.