1 Introduction |
1. According to the World Bank, around
one billion peopleor 15% of the world's populationare
of disability vary, but most agree that disability is not just
about medical conditions. Rather, it is characterised by the discrimination
and harmful social norms that people with such conditions have
to contend with. For
the purposes of this inquiry, we have taken the same approach
as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Disability results from the interaction
between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental
barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in
society on an equal basis with others.
This definition encompasses people with
a wide range of impairmentsphysical; sensory; intellectual;
and mental healthbut with a common experience of stigma
2. Disability and poverty are closely
linked. 80% of disabled people worldwide live in developing countries,
whereaccording to DFID's own researchthey are more
likely to fall into poverty, and have less opportunity to escape.
Disability can lead to a vicious circle of poverty and ill-treatment,
as witnesses from Kenya and India described:
I hear and experience cases where
a mother who has given birth to a deaf-blind child [...] has to
quit her job because she has to take care of her deaf-blind child.
That becomes a double tragedy for the family, because that mother
stops earning a very important income that would sustain the rest
of the family members. As soon as the mother stops working, in
most cases the husband may desert that family. That compounds
the problems that such a family experiences.
I know of a family in the slums
of Bangalore that has a daughter with cerebral palsy. She had
difficulty walking and both her parents worked hard to ensure
their children attended school. Somehow they managed to get a
second-hand wheelchair for her to go to school. [...] Unfortunately,
[...] the school she wanted to go to was not accessible and did
not have accessible toilet facilities. [...] Therefore, she dropped
out of school. In poor communities, children like her, and children
with multiple intellectual and psycho-social impairments, are
left at home all day, making them vulnerable to abuse. When they
become victims, they do not have access to justice and the stigma
adds to this.
3. Because disability is so closely
connected with the challenges of eradicating poverty, we decided
to undertake an inquiry into the UK Government's approach to disability
in its development work. Since we first announced our intention
to hold the inquiry, the Department for International Development
(DFID) Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (PUSS), Lynne Featherstone
MP, has made a number of promising statements on the importance
of addressing disability. In September 2013, she told the United
Nations (UN) she was "determined to make people with disabilities
a key development priority".
This inquiry will explore how these aspirations are being put
4. Earlier this Parliament, we held
an inquiry into Violence Against Women and Girlsanother
thematic issue which, like disability, affects many different
sectors of DFID's work.
There are several similarities between the two issuesin
particular, both are characterised by discriminatory social norms,
and donors need to adapt their programmes to tackle this.
We have drawn on the Violence Against Women and Girls inquiry
in preparing this one, and comment on some further similarities
at later points in the report.
5. We held three evidence sessions for
the inquiry. Witnesses included disabled people from developing
countries; experts in disability and development from the UN,
academia, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); and the DFID
Minister. We also held informal meetings so that we could hear
from a wider range of stakeholders, including people with intellectual
and psychosocial disabilities.
We received 80 submissions of written evidence from: disabled
people's organisations (DPOs), NGOs,
multilateral bodies and UN agencies, researchers, and Government
departments in the UK and overseas. We were particularly pleased
that 15 of these submissions came from DPOs in developing countries.
We would like to thank everyone who was involved in the inquiry,
especially those who gave evidence orally or in writing.
6. This report sets out our analysis
of, and recommendations for, the UK Government's response to disability
in its development and humanitarian work.
Two explores how a stronger focus on disability would complement
DFID's wider objectives.
Three and Four suggest practical steps DFID could take to build
on its existing disability work: Chapter Three looks at incentives,
and Chapter Four considers who should be involved.
Five considers how DFID's work across different sectors couldbest
be made accessible to disabled people.
Six deals with the treatment and prevention ofconditions that
Chapter Seven examines how DFID could encourage the organisations
that it works with to do more to address disability.
1 World Bank/World Health Organisation, World Report
on Disability, Geneva, 2011, p.29. As explained in the World
Report on Disability, this estimate inevitably involves a
number of assumptions and judgements. Back
For example, Mike Oliver, The Individual and Social Models of Disability,
23 July 1990; Philippa Thomas, Disability, Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals: Relevance, Opportunities and Challenges for DFID,
Cornell, 2005, p3 Back
United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
Preamble paragraph e Back
Leonard Cheshire Disability Annex A (DIS0077) para 3.1.2 Back
Philippa Thomas, Disability, Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals: Relevance, Opportunities and Challenges for DFID,
Cornell, 2005, pp 5-6 Back
Q2 [Mr Osundwa] Back
Q2 [Mr Chandrasekar] Back
DFID, 'UK Commits to Tackle the 'Great Neglect' of Disability',
accessed 19 March 2014 Back
International Development Committee, Second Report of Session
2013-14, Violence Against Women and Girls, HC 107-I Back
International Development Committee, Violence Against Women and Girls,
para 14 Back
Psychosocial disability is the term for the exclusion experienced
by people who have suffered mental health problems. Back
Throughout this report, we draw a distinction between DPOs and
NGOs. Technically, DPOs are just one type of non-governmental
organisation. However, in the context of disability, the terms
are treated as mutually exclusive - a DPO is made up of, and run
by, disabled people; an NGO is not. Back
We are also grateful to all the experts who provided us with informal
advice during the inquiry, including the Leonard Cheshire Disability
and Inclusive Development Centre at University College London,
the Centre for Global Mental Health, ADD International, Handicap
International, Sightsavers, Motivation, Basic Needs, Dr S Miles,
Dr D Chisholm, and others. Back