International Day of Persons with Disability
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International Day of Persons with disability, proclaimed as a collaborative effort by the United Nations, is to celebrate and acknowledge the experience and capabilities of people with disabilities.
A brief history of this Day: The Day was initially proclaimed in 1992 to commemorate the anniversary of the World Program of Action concerning Persons with Disability, adopted by the General Assembly to promote understanding about disability issues and to increase awareness of gains to be derived from integrating persons with disability into all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life. “Accessibility for all for the Millennium” was the theme for 1999.
More than half a billion persons are disabled as a result of mental, physical or sensory impairment and no matter which part of the world they are in, their lives are often limited by physical or social barriers. During the past two decades, much has been accomplished in recognition of persons with disability. One of the turning points was the International Year of Persons with Disability proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1981.
The following year, the International Decade of Persons with Disability was designated (1983–1992) to promote “Equality” and “Full participation” of persons with disability in social life and development.
The World Program of Action concerning Persons with Disability, adopted by the General Assembly in 1982, provides an international framework to incorporate disability issues into national planning. To complement the World Program, Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities were crafted in 1993.
Although the Rules are not compulsory for Governments, they imply a strong moral and political commitment of states to equalize the opportunities of persons with disabilities. To this end, the Rules outline specific principles for responsibility, action and cooperation. Increasingly, the work of the United Nations is focused on equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. One of the most important concerns is accessibility to new technologies, in particular, information and communications technologies, as well as to the physical environment. The notion of “Mainstreaming” is also given prominence, that is, including a disability dimension in policy recommendations covering a wide spectrum of social and economic concerns.