Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee


GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – December 3rd marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  The theme for 2018 is: “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), says in connection with its annual calendar of health observances, December 3rd is a very important day for persons with disabilities.

CPS urges the community to work with local organizations who represent people with disabilities in order to make the transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all a reality.

“The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution 47/3.

“It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

“Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the New Urban Agenda, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development,” according to the UN.

With respect to the theme for 2018, “This year’s theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

“The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development.

“Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the UN says in connection with the international day.

Persons with disabilities according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions.

Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).