International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020: World over, People with Disabilities (PwDs) have been affected “disproportionately” by the health, social and economic consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as per UNESCO. Stressing on the need to pull in collective efforts, the theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), also called World Disability Day, observed annually on December 3, is ‘Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities’.
What is the theme all about?
This year’s theme emphasises the importance of strengthening collective efforts for universal access to essential services, including immediate health and social protection, education, digital infrastructure, accessible information, employment and other socio-cultural opportunities. Persons with disabilities are not to be left behind in times of crisis, as per UNESCO.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society, including in COVID-19 response and recovery. “Realising the rights of persons with disabilities is crucial to fulfilling the core promise of the 2030 Agenda: to leave no one behind,” Antonio Gueterres said, referring to the global action plan to bring about a more just and sustainable world. The UN chief was addressing countries that are parties to the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The pandemic has deepened inequalities, affecting around one billion people with disabilities globally, said the UN chief. “Even under normal circumstances people with disabilities were already less likely to be included in their communities,” he said.
UNESCO will also organise a global awareness-raising campaign, “Tell our stories, enable our rights”, on its official social media channels, focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with disabilities and on the immediate response to the crisis through open, inclusive and innovative use of digital solutions, tools and resources.
I take this issue of disability inclusion extremely seriously.
Securing equal rights for persons with disabilities is enshrined in the values of the @UN Charter and a core promise of the #GlobalGoals: to leave no one behind. https://t.co/aSq9MteCTj pic.twitter.com/4nHyDRn9TC
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 30, 2020
“While I celebrate that there are now 182 parties to the convention, the pandemic has made evident that there is still a long way to go in fully understanding the human rights model of disability enshrined in the convention, and therefore in fully implementing its provisions,” Guterres said in a video message.
When crises such as #COVID19 grip communities, people with disabilities are among the worst affected.
Let’s commit to tackling together the obstacles, injustices & discrimination they experience. pic.twitter.com/EkqepdPDtI
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 3, 2020
IDPD was proclaimed in 1992 by a United Nations General Assembly resolution to “promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society…”.
As per the UN website, 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 PwDs in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the New Urban Agenda, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.