Inclusion International contributes to the WHO report on Disability

To download the WHO World Report on Disability go to the WHO website

II Press release


June 9, 2011 (London) – The WHO today released the World Report on Disability. Inclusion International (II), a federation of 200 family-based organizations advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide, contributed to this important report to ensure that the voices and perspectives of people with intellectual disabilities were heard and included.

The report estimates the number of people with disabilities globally to be as over 1 billion people.  By establishing this as the new global estimate the report will help to address the invisibility of people with disabilities and will call attention to the barriers to participation and the inequality that people with disabilities continue to experience.   During the negotiations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) it was evident that one of the major obstacles facing persons who have a disability around the world is invisibility.  People who have a disability are often hidden because of stigma; they may not be registered at birth nor counted in census data; or they may be ignored in other information gathering processes.  The World Report will prevent governments from hiding behind grossly erroneous data and will force all stakeholders to recognize that based on numbers alone, people with disabilities make up too large a minority to be ignored.

Fully respecting the letter and spirit of the CRPD the coordinators of the report invited representatives of the IDA to participate in the editing of the document, to contribute to individual chapters, and to share personal histories.  Inclusion International facilitated interviews and focus groups with self-advocates and several of their stories are featured in the report. As well II representatives acted as advisors on the report and its approach to inclusion. Although not every one of our recommendations was fully implemented we must acknowledge the open spirit of collaboration, the respectful way our input was considered and the significant changes made because of our input.

In implementing the World Report on Disability Care must be taken to ensure that the spirit of the CRPD is respected.  The CRPD recognizes the right to health of people with disabilities and the contribution of health systems to their full participation in all aspects of society must be respected.  However, the model for providing supports and services must no longer be shaped by a medical model, but rather by the social model and human rights framework which permeates the report.

Klaus Lachwitz, President of Inclusion International said “We are pleased that the World Report will provide much needed attention to the issues affecting people with disabilities around the world. For II it is particularly important that the report is read and the recommendations understood in the context of the CRPD and that the contribution of the report in the areas of education, social inclusion and participation are approached as human rights and social justice issues not through a medical or health lens.”


For More Information Contact:

Connie Laurin- Bowie

Executive Director

Inclusion International