In 1992, the United Nations, founded in 1945 as a world peace organization, proclaimed the annual observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd of each year. According to the United Nations, “the observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.” The 2019 theme is “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda.”
Historically, “the human rights of people with disabilities were not officially recognized internationally until 1971, with the proclamation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons; and it was only in 1975 with the proclamation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons that the social, political, civic and human rights of people with disabilities were officially recognized internationally.”
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an important day that promotes civil rights for people with disabilities, as well as understanding and acceptance by everyone in the world. Disabled people around the world are entitled to rights and well-being, just as those without. This day supports people with disabilities in decision making, careers, entrepreneurship, sports, and creating an accessible world. It acknowledges that disabled people are human and that the human spectrum includes both imperfect and impaired.
The theme of 2019’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities – promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership – simply means “Nothing about us, without us.”
Watch this video about this important day:
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is important to me, as a disabled person, because it honors my right to participate in decisions about my life and to direct my own life. Thank you for reflecting on this important day and for celebrating the rights of disabled people around the world.