Increased poverty in the world requires increased functional rights in aid

People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable when the world goes backwards in development and inequality and poverty increase.

schoolgirl sits alone on a bench she leans against a brick wall

For over 30 years, measurements of health, education and living standards have shown a positive development in the countries of the world. Now the UNDP's report shows Human Development report 2021–2022 that the trend is broken and that nine out of ten countries are worse off. According to UNDP, it is the combination of several global crises, such as the covid pandemic and rampant food prices, that has led to several countries now going backwards in development.

People with disabilities are a particularly vulnerable group when poverty increases.

Everyone who works with development and aid must now seriously make sure to include people with disabilities in their goals and plans. And also follow up on whether the efforts actually reach them.

The UNDP also states that the various measures of wealth used do not make visible the inequality and discrimination that people with disabilities live under. The report also states how discrimination and various inequalities reinforce each other.

20 percent of the world's poorest live with a disability

While most of the world has gotten better in the last 30 years, people with disabilities have continued to lag behind in all measurements. They belong to the very poorest, while at the same time they are exposed to extensive discrimination. It is worst for girls and women.

- This is an invisible and forgotten group. Even though it is more vulnerable and should be the highest priority for everyone who works with poverty alleviation, development and aid, says Jesper Hansén.

Extra difficult to get out of poverty

Living with a disability means that it is difficult to get out of poverty. Those who live in poverty and have a disability are often denied their human rights and have very little opportunity to influence and decide over their own lives.

- People with disabilities run a greater risk of being exposed to violence, hunger and discrimination than those without disabilities. And they often lack the opportunity to make their voice heard, says Jesper Hansén.

When a person is discriminated against and excluded from both education and work, it becomes more difficult to get out of poverty and many are forced to become dependent on their relatives. Many people with disabilities in the world are also forced to live in isolation in institutions, completely deprived of dignity, opportunities and their human rights. 

Widespread poverty is a fundamental reason why people with disabilities are not guaranteed their rights. Poverty also prevents people from making demands that give them access to care, aids, education and employment.

Working with functional rights issues is an effective way to increase participation and reduce poverty.

Portrait of Jesper standing in front of a world map
Secretary General, Jesper Hansén

Read MyRights' debate article on the importance of including people with disabilities published on the site Global Bar in connection with the release of the UNPD's report. 

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