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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: the vital role of Handicap International

Inclusion

Ten years ago, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It has since been ratified by 168 States. Handicap International played a vital role in drawing up this text.

When the Convention was being drafted, the organisation made sure that people with disabilities living in low income countries were able to take part in the discussions and that their voices were heard. This involved a lot of coordination and translation work so they could follow the debates and pass on their message.

The organisation also worked tirelessly to ensure the Convention included an article dedicated to international cooperation: by obliging donor States to apply the measures set out in the Convention to their international aid provision, Handicap International made sure that the concerns, needs and priorities of people with disabilities are incorporated into the funding of cooperation actions.

People with disabilities have been able to speak about their daily lives, their specific situations, the things which people without disabilities cannot see. It was very important to reflect the full range of discrimination. A woman with impaired hearing living in a remote area of Kenya is not in the same situation as a blind man living in Europe. I think that the Convention's main achievement has been to combine these different preoccupations and discriminations experienced by very diverse groups of people with disabilities into one text.

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Nepal earthquake: inseparable Nirmala and Khendo
© Elise cartuyvels/HI

Nepal earthquake: inseparable Nirmala and Khendo

On 25 April 2015, Nepal was hit by a violent earthquake. Hundreds of kilometres apart, Nirmala and Khendo were both buried under the rubble. Rushed to hospital, they each had a leg amputated. This is where they met, attended rehabilitation sessions with HI’s physiotherapists, and learned to walk. Three years on, they are almost never apart and even go to school together. Their dream? To dance again.

Three years after the earthquake: HI continues to assist victims
© Prasiit Sthapit/HI

Three years after the earthquake: HI continues to assist victims

More than 8,000 people were killed and 22,000 injured when an earthquake hit Nepal three years ago. Already present in the field, HI launched an immediate response in aid of those affected, providing assistance to more than 15,000 people.

Aicha and Friends Show us the Joy of Inclusion.
© M.Moreiras / HI

Aicha and Friends Show us the Joy of Inclusion.

Aicha, 10, lives in Guinea Bissau. Since HI has helped her to attend school, she has become a lively and joyful member of her local community. HI ensures that over 70,000 vulnerable children and children with disabilities can access their right to an education.