Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter (GDCYPC)
On The World Day of Social Justice the revised Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter (GDCYPC) #YearOfYouth Campaign has been launched a Call for Action making the Year of the Youth.
The World Day of Social Justice is based on the four principles of social justice which are Human Rights; Access; Participation and Equity all which are also the key principles echoed in the Charter (GDCYPC).
The charter has been revised and developed by youth with disabilities from across the globe in collaboration with Commonwealth Children & Youth Disability Network (CCYDN), Minority Rights Group International, Global Network of Young People with Disabilities, Include Me TOO and Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter (GDCYPC) #YearOfYouth, aligns with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). A fundamental human rights treaty for countries to take measures and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and its support for respect, dignity and independence of persons with disabilities, commitment to anti-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; equality of opportunity; accessibility and the rights of children and young people with disabilities.
The Charter recognises the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), including its articles advocating the right to education; supporting our development to reach our full potential; enabling every child to become independent; to be protected from all forms of exploitation and abuse; to be listened to and have our views considered.
Building on the CRC, the Charter includes our authentic voices of children and young people with disabilities from across the world who shared our views during the first Global Disability Summit (GDS) 2018 and the key messages we want to be included in our own Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter. (2018)
Since 2020 we have been deeply concerned about the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the protections of human rights and inclusion of children and young people with disabilities. Children and young people with disabilities are one of the most marginalized groups in the world. It has been estimated that there are over 240 million children with disabilities worldwide (according to UNICEF 2021 report). Within the Commonwealth 60% of the population are young people aged under 29 years, taking this into account with figures from WHO estimating that worldwide 1 in 6 people experience significant disability.
Rights of children and young people with disabilities should not be compromised. We already encounter barriers in accessing appropriate supports and resources in order to thrive and reach our potential. Progress made towards disability rights and inclusion – such as equal access to accessible care and treatment to support dignity and safety, inclusive education, lifelong learning, employment, independent living, a right to family life and social protections – should not be undone. To ensure this, the rights of children and young people with disabilities must be respected and protected. The need for action to ensure these rights are protected were outlined in 2020 in the COVID 19 Children and Young People with Disabilities Global Statement and Recommendations.
During the Global Disability Summit (GDS) 2022, young people with disabilities further shared the actions that they believe are crucial to support the realisation of their rights and role in both the disability and youth movements.
The Global Disability Children’s and Young People Charter #YearOfYouth Call to Action combines the impact that COVID-19 has had on the lives and rights of children and young people with disabilities, with the global statement and recommendations, that are relevant to necessitate overdue change. Furthermore, the Charter reflects on discussions and calls to action shared at the Global Disability Summit 2022.
We call for action to affirm commitments to the revised Global Disability Children’s and Young People Charter #YearOfYouth aligning with CRPD, CRC and the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We ask governments and all stakeholders to support and action the commitments in our Charter and build upon the momentum of our advocacy efforts during and since GDS 2018 for our human rights, inclusion, and our futures.
Commitment 1: Provide inclusive education, lifelong learning and development
Commitment 2: Ensure meaningful participation, representation in political and public life, and in decision making processes
Commitment 3: Promote and enhance gender equality
Commitment 4: Ensure safeguarding from all forms of abuse and harmful practices
Commitment 5: Promote inclusive and accessible communities
Commitment 6: Affordable and accessible digital and assistive technologies to enhance access to opportunities and independence
Commitment 7: Promote accessible and inclusive employment opportunities
Commitment 8: Remove stigma and discrimination
Commitment 9: Ensure support, wellbeing and access to social protections
Commitment 10: Inclusive assistance in humanitarian action
Commitment 11: Enhance disability rights implementation through legislation and policy development.
Commitment 12: Collect disaggregated data to understand children and young peoples’ disability experiences through intersectional lens.
Commitment 13: Ensure access to inclusive health and social care
Commitment 14: Promote accessible communication and information
Commitment 15: Promote independent living with the right support and resources
Commitment 16: Promote participation of children and young people to engage in tackling climate change
GDCYPC Commitment 1: Provide inclusive education, lifelong learning and development
Inclusive education for all, allowing every child and young person with disabilities a chance to reach our full potential and have our individual abilities and additional needs recognised and supported.
Ensure inclusive provisions within early years, schools, colleges and universities are adequately equipped with resources and trained staff.
Increase access of children and young people with disabilities to resources and assistance in our education and lifelong learning development, supporting individual needs and learning styles and remote learning when required. This includes accommodating children and young people with disabilities who were further disadvantaged during COVID-19 pandemic. This includes those living in rural areas and in indigenous communities, and children and young people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, complex learning needs, deafblind and deaf children, and young people.
Provide opportunities to learn sign language to increase inclusion of deaf children and young people amongst our peers in educational settings, their communities and society.
GDCYPC Commitment 2: Ensure meaningful participation, representation in political and public life, and in decision making processes
‘Nothing about us without us’ must be taken seriously, ensuring government, stakeholders and decision makers include children and young people with disabilities to have our say on our futures, shape positive change and make improvements.
Ensure our inclusion in meaningful participation and access to resources to enable our representation in decision making processes. As advocates for the protection and implementation of our disability rights as human rights in our roles as changemakers, leaders and community builders worldwide.
To recognise, children and young people with disabilities as rights holders and invest in resources to develop our capacity through our representative organisations on our disability and human rights. This will enable all children and young people with disabilities to access opportunities in our roles to affect positive change in the disability, youth, and children’s rights movements, sharing our various intersectional experiences on what matters to us.
Remove barriers to children and young peoples’ participation and representation in political and public life at the local, national, regional, and global levels. Increasing opportunities for our effective participation with ‘seats at strategic decision-making tables’ to take charge of our futures, for positive change.
GDCYPC Commitment 3: Promote and enhance gender equality
Recognition of gender equality across the diverse populations of persons with disabilities is essential. This takes into account intersecting identities including indigenous, culturally, and linguistically diverse, and LGBTIQA+.
Promote greater understanding of the experiences and disadvantages faced by young women and girls with disabilities with a commitment to reducing inequalities and increasing opportunities to thrive.
Recognise increased risk to young women and girls with disabilities of gender-based violence. Enhance access to inclusive services and support to prevent and respond to gender-based violence with safe, accessible points of contact and helplines.
Ensure information is accessible. This includes safety measures and reporting processes in user-friendly formats to meet the communication needs of those with intellectual, visual, blind, deaf, deafblind disabilities.
GDCYPC Commitment 4: Ensure safeguarding from all forms of abuse and harmful practices
Ensure safeguarding protocols and strengthen protections of children and young people with disabilities from all forms of abuse, exploitation and harmful practices including forced marriages, witchcraft accusations, financial, physical, and physiological abuse, and bullying.
During the rise of the COVID-19 Pandemic, children and young people with disabilities living in institutional care such as group homes, residential schools, and other settings, should have been safeguarded and protected to ensure that they were not subjected to ill-treated, non-consensual medication, unreasonable forced restraint and unlawful seclusion or locked away.
Recognise children and young people with disabilities have a right to family life, and the right to live within their communities with dignity and choice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase of young women and girls being forced into marriages and more cases of female genital mutilation. Young women and girls with disabilities are at increased risk to all forms of abuse and harmful practices. Recognise data collection needs to include reporting of forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and other forms of abuse of young women and girls with disabilities. This will inform the development and improvement of disability and inclusive, accessible safeguarding measures and support services.
GDCYPC Commitment 5: Promote inclusive and accessible communities
Acknowledge the importance of appropriate investment in disability infrastructure that is accessible and inclusive. This includes public places, buildings and inclusive education settings, workplaces, housing, sports, recreation and leisure, places of worship, toilets, washrooms and changing places. This takes into account a wide range of access requirements for mobility, sensory, communication and complex needs.
Recognise that by providing inclusive and accessible communities this will reduce the barriers and challenges which hinder opportunities for children and young people with disabilities including those who live in rural areas and indigenous communities. Promoting integration is essential within the community and creates a sense of belonging.
GDCYPC Commitment 6: Affordable and accessible digital and assistive technologies to enhance access to opportunities and independence
Enhance increased access to user friendly, reliable, and affordable accessible digital and assistive technologies, which are universally designed products for children and young people with disabilities.
Recognise access to technology and innovation impacts positively on children and young people with disabilities assisting in our learning, development, education, economic empowerment and employment, health and wellbeing, supporting our participation, choices and communications, inclusion and independence.
Recognise adaptation in existing technologies needs to be made to support those with complex disabilities and ensure children and young people with disabilities are involved and part of the digital, technology innovation revolution in the designs and process stages.
GDCYPC Commitment 7: Promote accessible and inclusive employment opportunities
Provide pathways to appropriate work and long-term employment opportunities. Increase access to inclusive accessible skills training, professional development, lifelong learning, mentoring and paid internships. Social protection programmes support disabled young people to access and retain employment.
Commit to improve and develop pathways between education and employment of young people with disabilities. Recognise the importance of a tailored approach to include those with high level of support for their communication needs, to ensure they are not left behind.
Enhance programmes to improve employment opportunities for young people with disabilities through adopting inclusive processes and protocols in recruitment, retention and promotion prospects. This should include improving accessible, disability friendly work environments with increased understanding of inclusive working practices and reasonable adjustments, including hybrid and remote working opportunities.
Promote accessible resources, support and guidance including start-up programmes. Investing in young people with disabilities through entrepreneurships. Helping us to transform our ideas to viable sustainable businesses and connect to technology and innovation, markets and training.
GDCYPC Commitment 8: Remove Stigma and Discrimination
Acknowledge the importance of removing the stigma and discrimination associated with disabilities through increased awareness, understanding, and acceptance within communities and wider society.
Commit to increase understanding of the disability human rights approach, removing attitudinal and societal barriers, stigma and taboos.
Promote a range of approaches and platforms which increases our visibility, representation, and inclusion of persons with disabilities from all communities in cultural, social, political, and public places.
Recognise that stigma, stereotypes, prejudices, and social oppression all have a direct long-term impact on our lives which needs addressing.
Acknowledge there needs to be a collective effort to remove societal barriers, and negative attitudes, stigma and taboos associated with disability.
GDCYPC Commitment 9: Ensure support, wellbeing and access to social protections
Provide a good standard of living for children and young people with disabilities.
Supporting independence, adequate housing, jobs, and socialising, and where needed as lifelong learners. This must include free services through the social care system, which includes vital medical care, therapy, and financial assistance where needed, including mobility and accessibility aids.
Efforts must be made to increase the inclusion and participation of children and young people with disabilities in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport to support their wellbeing, mental health, and friendship opportunities.
Ensure effective targeted support and timely access to social protection schemes, resources, equipment, and programmes are responsive and accessible to children and young people with disabilities and our families.
GDCYPC Commitment 10: Inclusive assistance in humanitarian action
Recognise and improve understanding of the challenges and additional risks children and young people with disabilities experience during humanitarian crises. Include our participation in informing and planning responsive action and implementing emerging measures and associated risks.
GDCYPC Commitment 11: Enhance disability rights implementation through legislation and policy developments.
Enhance disability human rights through existing and improved development of legislation and policies protecting and advocating for the rights and inclusion of children and young people with disabilities.
Governments and stakeholders work with us and our representative organizations across all stages of policy development, from consultation through to implementation.
Recognise children and young people with disabilities as right holders. Ensure we have access to youth leadership development and opportunities for our participation in governance, policy making, and decision making with the support of accessible information and resources to take charge of our futures.
GDCYPC Commitment 12: Collect disaggregated data to understand children and young peoples’ disability experiences through intersectional lens.
Acknowledge the importance of analysing disability and intersectionality data which includes, race, gender, religion, language, age, demographics, social economic, services and accessed resources. This will increase understanding and address the scale and nature of challenges experienced by children and young people with disabilities from underrepresented groups, including from minority and indigenous communities. Reducing the inequalities we experience and enhance development and targeted support so that we may have better life outcomes.
Commit to providing disaggregated data to inform national budgets and programmes that responds to the needs of children and young people with disabilities to improve our life outcomes.
Recognise how the lack of adequate data on children and young people with disabilities adversely impacted the delivery of services and deployment of an effective COVID-19 responses to our continuity of essential support, services, care, treatment, and safety.
GDCYPC Commitment 13: Ensure access to inclusive health and social care
Acknowledge the health and social care inequalities experienced by children and young people and our families.
Enhance health and social care support, affordability, access to medication, equipment, adaptions, advice, accessible care, treatment, information, nutrition, and proper sanitation.
Ensure children and young people with disabilities and our parents and caregivers have access and support to complete the CCYDN Hospital Communication Passport. This provides vital information for hospital and medical centres regarding how to support children and young people with disabilities access needs, their communication, sensory, physical, and personal care needs, safety, and dignity.
Provide young women and girls with disabilities support with menstrual health, hygiene, and access to sexual and reproductive health rights.
GDCYPC Commitment 14: Promote accessible communication and information
Promote information and communication in accessible formats, which accommodate specific needs, including sign language; tactile; large font print materials; braille; community languages; child friendly; video formats with text captioning and accessible web content.
Enhance accessible communication and information in all related public services and buildings.
GDCYPC Commitment 15: Promote independent living with the right support and resources
Acknowledge that appropriate support and resources enhance accessible services, transport, information, technical aids, personal assistance, and life skills which all supports young people with disabilities rights to independent living, greater choices and control of their lives.
Recognise the importance of social protections with the appropriate support enables our inclusion in our communities.
GDCYPC Commitment 16: Promote participation of children and young people to engage in tackling climate change
Work with young people with disabilities including indigenous young people with disabilities, to be included at the forefront of response strategies, innovation and policy making to tackle climate change issues.
Enable us by providing accessible information and resources that we may contribute towards tackling climate change efforts.
We call for governments and stakeholders to implement the commitments in our Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter (GDCYPC).
We ask you to sign up to our Charter and inform us which commitments you will action; share how you will implement and report your progress to us.
We children and young people with disabilities and our representative organisations will work with you to enhance advocacy and accountability for the implementation of our disability and human rights shared in our Charter.
To sign up or endorse our Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter (GDCYPC) #YearOfYouth Call To Action please email CCYDN@includemetoo.org.uk