Lumos, the international children's rights organization founded by author J.K. Rowling, will take part in a number of events at the United Nations this week in order to build on the growing momentum to make sure that children in institutions and orphanages are not left behind in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These events will take place during this week’s Conference of State Parties at the UN headquarters in New York City from June 14-16, 2016.
Lumos will co-sponsor an official side meeting,“Leave No Child Behind: Tackling the Data Gap to Count All Children,” hosted by the UK’s Permanent Mission to the UN and hosted by the EU’s Delegation to the United Nations,on June 14, 2016 from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM in Conference Room D. Designed to inform the upcoming UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, the meeting will focus on the need to include all children in data collection for the SDGs - including those children ininstitutions and outside of family care - in order that they can be included in the international aid and development agenda.
The meeting will look at the need to develop national and international methodologies to count children with disabilities living outside of households. It also will outline the role that national level indicators and disaggregated data collection will play in ensuring that the rights of children and adults living in institutions or otherwise outside of households are met.
Lumos CEO Georgette Mulheir, who will offer a global picture of institutionalization and share a video presentation of child self-advocates, will be joined by Catalina Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, DfID, United Kingdom; IoannisVrailas, Ambassador, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; and Claudia Cappa, UNICEF Statistics and Monitoring Specialist, (Child Protection, Disability, ECD).
“If we truly want to the SDGs to benefit all children, we need to make sure we are counting ALL children,” said Georgette Mulheir. “So far, 175 organizations around the world have added their support to a joint letter to the UN Statistical Committee calling for expanding data collection to include all children living outside of family care,“ she continued. “We will be sharing further translations of that letter in Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish as we hope more organizations will join in the call.
"By counting children in orphanages and institutions, we are making them visible, and no longer hidden from view. This is an essential first step to ensuring that international aid reaches some of the most vulnerable children in the world"
The letter can be viewed here in several languages.
Lumos will be organizing another event on 16 June:
From 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM on June 16, Lumos and the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities are organizing a side event on Ending Violence Against Children and Adolescents with Disabilities in Conference Room 4. Co-hosted by the Missions of Jordan and Poland, UNFPA and UNICEF. HRH Prince Mired RaadZeid Al-Hussein of Jordan is expected to speak.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirms that all persons with disabilities have the right to live the in the community and right to a family life. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRPD) every child has the right to be cared for by their parents and to be protected from abuse and neglect. Nevertheless, a significant number of children with disabilities worldwide continue to live in residential institutions.
“Despite the CPRD stressing the obligation on States to protect children with disabilities from any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and exploitation, violence and abuse, the institutionalization of children with disabilities continues to cause irreversible harm,” Ms. Mulheir said. More information about the event and how to register is available here.
Lumos is actively encouraging organizations across the globe to sign on to the joint letter urging UN officials to improve its data collection practices to ensure that all children are counted.The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework that can help achieve many targets linked to health, nutrition, education, and protection from violence, exploitation and abuse for children with disabilities.
Finally, Ms. Mulheir will discuss current scientific research demonstrating the harm institutionalization does to early childhood development at the “Leaving No One Behind from early age: Innovative Practices on Early Childhood Intervention” from 10:00 to 11:30 AM in Conference Room D. The Essi Foundation’s Zero Project and the European Association of Service Providers (EASPD) are sponsoring this meeting.