9 August 2013


UN Photo/J Isaac

Children with disabilities are some of the most invisible and marginalised people in the world. All children have the same rights, but those with disabilities often suffer discrimination, abandonment and neglect, according to UNICEF's State of the World's Children 2013 report. The message of the article is clear: girls and boys with disabilities are not "problems” but sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and friends with dreams and rights. To promote full equality and participation of all people in society, the report calls on countries that have not yet done so, to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Papua New Guinea has signed both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Jun 2011) and the Convention on the rights of the Child (signed Sep 1990, ratified Mar 1993). The Callan Services for people with disabilities was established by the Christian Brothers in Papua New Guinea in 1991.

Callan Services works with children and adults who suffer from sight or hearing impairments. It works with the local community not only to assist those with disability but also to help train people to gain the skills to assist as well. It has done a great deal to improve the rights and recognition of those with a disability in the country, especially at a political level. As a result, Callan Services is the main Province activity in Papua New Guinea and has become one of the major health service facilities in the country.

The example of the Callan Services reflects efforts being made at a grassroots level to promote and protect the rights of children with disabilities.

- thanks to Ashley Scully for the research on this article

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