TORONTO, December 4 /PRNewswire/ --

"Governments need to recognize the rights and needs of people with disabilities," says Prof. Allen Foster, President of CBM on the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations will not be achieved without the inclusion of the disabled in development programming states Foster.

CBM is a leading advocate for the human rights of people with disabilities. More than 600 million people in the world live with some form of disability. Eighty per cent live in developing countries and have difficulty accessing rehabilitation and health services. 82% live below the poverty line.

"It is not the impairment or disability which creates dependency and poverty in people with disabilities, but their exclusion from mainstream social, economic and political opportunities," says Foster.

Can you imagine having a disability, being the poorest of the poor? It's a terribly vicious cycle. Because the poor have disabilities, they cannot get a proper education or make an adequate living which leads to poverty and poverty continues the cycle of disabilities.

Rehabilitation enables people with disabilities to reach and maintain optimal physical, sensory, intellectual and functional potential. It provides them with tools needed to attain higher levels of independence. But until governments become more aware of the needs of people with disabilities and make a commitment to achieving the MDGs, the cycle of poverty continues. 2007 marks the halfway point to achieving the MDGs, but at this rate many goals will not be met.

"CBM is the world's leading disability organization but we can't do it alone," says Foster. "We need governments, media and other NGOs. Together we can do more in making a difference for the forgotten people in the world - children, parents and families forgotten by their communities, their countries and too often forgotten by the rest of the world."

CBM currently supports 1,016 disability focused projects in 113 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and currently reaches 18 million people trapped in poverty by disability.

For further information: interviews please contact: Lindsay O'Connor International Media Manager, lindsay.oconnor(at), +49-(0)6251-131 392,+1-647-202-3445