World Celebrates International Day of Disabled Persons: Inclusion, Access and Empowerment Key Instruments of Change for 2015

Theme for 2015: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities

With the fact that over one billion people living with disabilities across the globe face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society almost frequently. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on at par with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, livelihood and education as well as social and political participation.

To boost the participation of disabled persons in the public life depends on the opportunities that are created for them which will ultimately lead to stable democracies, active citizenship and reduction in disparities prevailing in society.

The real opportunities for people are only created if we promote the empowerment of all comprehensively. This will enhance their own capacities and supports them in setting their own priorities. Empowerment involves investing in people – in job opportunities, health, nutrition, education, and social protection. When people are empowered they are in better position to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can more readily embrace their civic responsibilities.

The sub-themes for the 2015 observance of the International Day are:

  • Making cities inclusive and accessible for all

  • Improving disability data and statistics

  • Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development

Making cities inclusive and accessible for all

It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Keeping in view the urgency ”New Urban Agenda” has been incorporated in the conference by United Nations’ Third Global Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development that will take place in 2016 to review the progress, experience and lessons learnt in the past and to design a “New Urban Agenda”. This Agenda of focused policies and strategies is hoped to harness the power and forces behind urbanization.
Importantly, the New Urban Agenda must ensure that future cities, towns and basic urban infrastructures and services are more environmentally accessible, user-friendly and inclusive of all people’s needs, including persons with disabilities.

Improving disability data and statistics

The lack of data and information on disability and the situation of persons with disabilities at the national level contribute to the invisibility of persons with disabilities in official statistics. This presents a major obstacle to achieving development planning and implementation that is inclusive of persons with disabilities. In particular, to be internationally comparable, data should be collected in line with international standards.

Data collected can be used the implementation and monitoring of internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.The International Day will be used to highlight measures to strengthen national capacities to improve and mainstream disability data collection, based on existing good practices.

Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development

Persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities represent a significant proportion of the world’s population. Millions of people worldwide have mental health conditions and an estimated one in four people globally will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Almost one million people die due to suicide every year, and it is the third leading cause of death among young people. Persons  with mental and psychosocial disabilities often face stigma and discrimination as well as experience high levels of physical and sexual abuse that occur in a range of settings, including prisons, hospitals and homes.

The International Day can be used to draw attention on the situation of persons with invisible disabilities, such as mental health and psychosocial disabilities, intellectual disabilities, as well as hearing impairments. The Day can be used to identify good practices of integrative and inclusive education, to organize social activities and awareness raising initiatives, as well as highlight good practices and make recommendations.

Furthermore, time has come to realize the fact that various civil society organisations, NGOs, Indian Corporations, Industry big-wigs, Government agencies and other stakeholders have a bigger role to play and fulfill their CSR mandate. It is their duty to ensure that whatever constructive work they are doing for the welfare and development of disabled persons is helping them to enjoy living conditions equal to those of other citizens.

Rohit Kaul

Senior Program Manager – Media & Communications



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s