The UN Convention on the Rights of a Child states that children have the right to learn and play in an environment free from discrimination. Research shows that interaction between children with and without disabilities enables children to accept one another’s differences and develop critical social skills which promote inclusion and respect.
UNICEF recognizes that now more than ever, cross-sectoral and inclusive work is essential in achieving results for ALL and fulfilling the promise of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Therefore, it is imperative that UNICEF and its partners embark on work that is both inclusive of ALL and specific in addressing particular groups of children that have been historically overlooked. Therefore, UNICEF is proposing to begin address disability in a broader sense of inclusion.
While the initial work on inclusive education, marked by the agreements proposed in the Salamanca Statement, was focused on providing access to children with disabilities to education, the argument for inclusion has been broadened overtime, and moved from access to participation. It is not enough that children have access to schools, but they must be provided with the conditions to participate fully in the education process. Likewise, it is not enough that facilities be physically accessible, but they must also provide the means to ensure full access to the services they provide.