Each year on December 3rd, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is commemorated to promote full equality for people with disabilities and to expand inclusion to all aspects of society. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was first held in 1992, formed by the United Nations to promote the overall wellbeing of people with disabilities and to ensure they have access to basic human rights.
This year, the day was observed from November 20 – December 4. The theme was “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”. This is a way of recognizing how individuals with disabilities may be harder hit during the pandemic and the importance of allocating resources to ensure that their needs are met and not forgotten, as they often are through different levels of societal inaccessibility.
Around the world, over one billion people have disabilities and many are among the hardest hit during this pandemic. For decades, people with disabilities have often been less likely to find employment, proper access to health care and education, and have a harder time fitting in with society as a result of stigma and a lack of understanding.
Since not all disabilities are visible or easy to detect, it’s important that as a society we create an environment where people do not have to feel ashamed of or disclose their disabilities to ensure they receive accessibility, as should be provided automatically. Persons with disabilities should not be stigmatized, but should be treated equitably, with respect and compassion.
This day is a commitment towards ensuring persons with disabilities have equal access to requirements and basic human rights.