Human Rights Watch investigates disability

It’s been a long time coming that one of the big human rights INGOs finally looked at the scandal in Nepal that is the treatment of the disabled. It’s good for disability activists and NGOs that Human Rights Watch is raising the profile of disability to a far higher level within the human rights world.

But why now? Shouldn’t HRW be focusing on its raison d’être?

After all, security sector reform is stalled, there exists widespread impunity, and still no movement on truth and reconciliation (or justice).

“In this society, children with disabilities can’t have a dignified life even if the parents want it. Parents are forced to hide them.” – Mukunda Dahal, disability advocate and father of a 13-year-old girl with autism, Kathmandu, March 2011

There is limited data on people with disabilities in Nepal, including how many adults and children are living with disabilities, their specific housing, education, and healthcare needs, and what factors promote or hinder their equal membership in Nepali society. The available statistics are wide-ranging, from 0.45 percent (in the 2001 National Census)17 to 1.63 percent (based on a 2001 Situation Analysis on Disability carried out by the Nepal National Planning Commission and UNICEF)18 to more than 25 percent prevalence of disability in Nepal (in a household survey conducted by the Social Science Research Foundation).19 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 15 percent of the world’s population is living with a significant physical or mental disability.

Source: HRW disability report

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