Stand up for people with disabilities, Sweden!

Poverty in the world has been fought by leaps and bounds since 1990, but the trend does not apply to all people. People with disabilities are often ignored in poverty reduction. Now Sweden must take the lead and stand up for their rights, writes the organization MyRight.

Including people with disabilities is necessary for the global sustainability goals in Agenda 2030 to become a reality. It is a fact that has been ignored for a long time by many states, and where there is an untapped radical potential for change.

The question is what the Swedish government will do to include people with disabilities in global progress. Through Agenda 2030 and the 17 global sustainability goals, the countries of the world undertake to lead the world towards a sustainable and just future, a world in peace where we protect human rights. The goals must be achieved for all people in all walks of life.

Some of the goals that specifically address people with disabilities are goal 4 on the importance of educational environments adapted for all children and adults, and goal 8 on economic growth and decent working conditions for all. According to the agenda, the most vulnerable and marginalized people should be given priority.

Development is not for everyone

In terms of the average of humanity, development has progressed by leaps and bounds around the world since 1990. At the same time, millions of people continue to be marginalized and forced to live their lives in poverty. According to the UN Development Program and the Human Development Index, one in three people has continued to live in low levels of human development, and among them are people with disabilities. An example of discrimination is that 9 out of 10 children in the world are estimated to go to school, but in the group of children with disabilities the figures are the opposite, where only 1 in 10.

Statistics on people with disabilities are deficient, but UN agencies such as the WHO and the World Bank estimate that one billion people live with at least one disability, ie as many as 15 percent of the world's population. Facts from UNICEF show that disability has a tendency to lock people in poverty, and poverty is in turn a strong contributing factor to disability.

Poverty reduction can be about increasing people's opportunities to eat their fill of nutritious food and avoid being malnourished, to have access to clean drinking water and thus be able to avoid illnesses, to go to school, have access to health care, feel safe and have influence over their lives and their future. People with disabilities all too often are denied several of these rights. Families where one or more family members live with a disability are also often hit hard financially.

Multi-billion sums in lost revenue

We believe that non-investment in people with disabilities will also be very expensive for society. Countries that do not give everyone the opportunity for education lose large sums of money in potential income from people who otherwise could have contributed to the countries' development. A report launched in October 2016 by the International Disability and Development Consortium, IDDC, shows that it is a multi-billion sum of lost income for the world's low-income countries every year. These are profits that can be created by building inclusive schools and workplaces.

We who work with the issues have many examples of how people with disabilities organize themselves and create big changes with small means, but if people with disabilities are systematically left out, we also get limited opportunities for political influence. It will be a vicious spiral that we as the disability movement need the support of politics to break.

Sweden has a unique role with a strong and established disability movement. We want to see the government address the issues in all crucial international contexts. We want to hear Isabella Lövin emphasize the link between poverty reduction and the rights of people with disabilities. Here is an opportunity for the countries of the world to pave the way to the global sustainability goals.

Tiina Nummi-Södergren
Göran Alfredsson

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