What is it?
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations 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 (CRPD), adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
What is the 2020 theme?
Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World
Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future.
The global crisis of COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative. People with disabilities—one billion people— are one of the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this crisis in terms of fatalities.
Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. An integrated approach is required to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind.
Disability inclusion will result in a COVID19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest behind first.
Other sources and themes
2020 IDPWD theme “Not all disabilities are visible”
On December 3 this year, during the annual celebration of people with disabilities, the 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ also focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.
According to the WHO World Report on Disability, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, are living with disability. Of this number, it’s estimated 450 million are living with a mental or neurological condition— and two-thirds of these people will not seek professional medical help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect.
Another 69 million individuals are estimated to sustain Traumatic Brain Injuries each year worldwide, while one in 160 children are identified as on the autism spectrum.
These are just some examples of the millions of people currently living with a disability that is not immediately apparent, and a reminder of the importance of removing barriers for all people living with disability, both visible and invisible.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines and diminished services have greatly impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities right around the world. Spreading awareness of invisible disabilities, as well as these potentially detrimental— and not always immediately apparent— impacts to mental health, is crucial as the world continues to fight against the virus.
Guernsey current situation
Summer 2020 The States of Guernsey assembly voted unanimously to pass the proposals for the Discrimination legislation (xx)
The drafting of the legislation is one big step towards Guernsey journey for ratification (via the UK) of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
Why celebrate International Days?
International days are occasions to
- educate the public on issues of concern,
- to mobilise political will and resources to address global problems, and
- to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.
How will we celebrate in Guernsey?
There is still a lack of understanding in the Bailiwick of Human Rights and the UN Conventions. We use these days to raise awareness and increase understanding. The days are generally well covered by the media and is a chance to not only increase understanding but celebrate the work we have achieved in the past year