The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually on December 3rd and was established in 1981 by the International Year for Disabled Persons. This day has an objective of promoting better understanding of disability issues and is focused on the rights of people with disabilities. The goal of the day is to shed light on the issues facing people with disabilities and the gains received by all when people with disabilities are integrated into every aspect (political, social, cultural, and economic) of their communities. This goal was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.
The United Nations (UN) promotes the rights and well-being of people with disabilities through the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (1982) and the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1983). These commitments provide an international policy framework and were further strengthened in 2006 b y the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides a unique platform for the advancement of international disability rights.
Observances of the International Day for People with disabilities include opportunities for participation that focus on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities. These opportunities may include holding forums, public discussions, and information campaigns. To celebrate the Day, communities can organize performances that highlight and celebrate the contributions made to the community by people with disabilities. Here are some examples of what the global community is doing:
- The UN is holding events in New York City that included panels discussing various topics and ended with an international Film Festival that included films from the US, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
- In Argentina, free courses will be available on labour and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and will be conducted by several organizations, including the Office of the President, the Secretary of Transportation, ADIF, and NABO.
- In Aruba, the day will be commemorated with a 2 mile walk. At the end of the walk students of the School for the Deaf will “sing” the Aruban anthem in Sign Language. There will also be a fashion show held by people with disabilities and will include a performance by deaf singers and live music. For more information, email the Platform Rights of Persons with a Handicap at Carroll.Kock@dsz.gov.aw.
- In Bangladesh there is a three-day program in multiple locations that will include a Rally for Disability Awareness, sports programs, a marathon and a Cultural Night and Film Festival.
- In Johannesburg, South Africa the City Parks will commemorate the day by partnering with Channel Islam international (Cii) in unveiling the first public park specifically tailored to meet the needs of children with disabilities in Johannesburg.
- In the US: In Roosevelt Island, New York, a music festival will be organized by the NGO and several other organizations to celebrate the Day and promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. At the Millennium Stage in The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., storytellers Peter Cook, Mario Hernandez, and Monique Hold present a family friendly evening of stories told in American Sign Language (ASL) accessible to all. This free performance will be signed, voiced, captioned, and audio described.
For more information, please visit the United Nations’ Enable website, which includes information on the International Day of People with Disabilities and the events being held around the world.