GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations (UN) sanctioned day – Thursday, 3rd December – that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
The theme for 2015 is: “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.”
People living with disabilities worldwide face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation.
The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies, active citizenship and reduce inequalities in society. Persons with disabilities must be able to fulfil their role in society and participate on an equal basis with others.
It is important to focus on the ability and not on the disability of an individual. Often, societal image of persons with disabilities is impacted by attitudes based on stigma and discrimination, as well as archaic ideas about disability and persons with disabilities that are often the greatest barrier to their full and equal participation in society and development on an equal basis with others.
It is important to note that disability is part of the human condition, and that all of us either are or will become disabled to one degree or another during the course of our lives.
By promoting empowerment, real opportunities for people are created. This enhances their own capacities and supports them in setting their own priorities. Empowerment involves investing in people – in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection.
When people are empowered they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can more readily embrace their civic responsibilities.
Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) as part of its Calendar of Health Observances commemorates this international day with the provision of information regarding the international theme.
Today, there are over one billion people living in the world with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers.
Since 1992, the annual observance of International Day of Disabled Persons 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.