International Day of Persons with Disabilities PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 December 2011 13:08

For the first time, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was commemorated under a general theme with supporting sub-themes in order to draw attention to key areas that would work in synergy to mainstream disability in all development processes.

The main theme of IDPD 2011 is “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development.”

According to the United Nations website (, the sub-themes are: 1) Mainstreaming disability (including a disability perspective in all development processes); 2) Gender (including women and girls with disabilities in development); 3)Including children and youth with disabilities in development; 4) Accessibility (removing barriers and promoting disability-inclusive development); and 5) Promoting data collection and statistics on disability.

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, aimed to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

It also sought to raise awareness on gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The media have especially important contributions to make in support of the observance of the Day - and throughout the year - regarding appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles implementing disability-sensitive policies, programs and projects and to promote public awareness of the contributions by persons with disabilities.

The United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was held from 1983 to 1992 to enable governments and organizations to implement measures to improve the life of disabled persons all over the world. On October 14, 1992, as this decade drew to a close, the UN General Assembly proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Disabled Persons. This day was first observed on December 3, 1992. On December 18, 2007, the assembly changed the observance’s name from the “International Day of Disabled Persons” to the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”. The new name was first used in 2008.

The World Health Organization has reported that there are 650 million disabled people living worldwide, equivalent to almost 10 percent of the world population, and 80 percent live in the developing nations. These numbers are gravely underestimated because disabled people are typically shunned, isolated, and stigmatized by their community so that they are often left out of census reports. There are families who hide their disabled children and exclude them from family and community activities.

Globally, it is estimated that one in every 10 persons has a disability which hinder them from participating in their community activities. Many are also forced to live in institutions, which is a breach of their right to freedom to live in their respective communities. Conflict and poverty continue to cause high rates of disability in the less developed world and the incidence of disability is increasing in the industrialized economies as well. — PIA