Disabled must be included in development plans

Disabled people must be put "at the heart" of international development, The Leprosy Mission has said.

The Christian charity said the estimated billion disabled people worldwide were "not effectively included" within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

International leaders were hosted by David Cameron in London this week for discussions on a global development strategy post-2015 - the target year for the fulfilment of the MDGs.

The panel is to make recommendations to the United Nations about what should replace the MDGs.

The Leprosy Mission said many disabled people around the world were "excluded" from society and at a greater risk of being trapped in extreme poverty, with half of disabled people being out of work.

Head of Programmes Co-ordination at The Leprosy Mission, Sian Arulanantham, said: “We are lobbying for disability to be specifically included in the new post-2015 framework.

"This will oblige national governments to improve access to education, employment, healthcare and social support for disabled people.”

Tim Wainwright, co-chair of the Bond Disability and Development Group (DDG), of which Leprosy Mission is a member, said: “There is currently not a clear enough focus on disabled people within international efforts to tackle poverty.

"This means that they miss out on having an education, a job, and an equal chance for full participation in society - things that most of us take for granted.

"Disabled people must be included in the post-2015 framework targets so they have the same opportunities in life.

"Ultimately, extreme poverty cannot be eradicated without including people with disabilities in international development policies.”

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