3rd December 2016: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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3rd of December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Each year, the 3rd of December marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992 to promote awareness and mobilise support. The 2016 theme, ‘achieving 17 goals for the future we want‘, highlights the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their role in creating a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. Adopted in 2015, the SGDs aim, among other things, at fostering good health and well-being; ensuring inclusive and quality education; promoting employment and decent work; reducing inequalities; and making cities and communities inclusive, safe and sustainable.

The observance of this year’s international day of persons with disabilities coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a binding international human rights instrument that recognises accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities as fundamental rights.

Also the European Commission has celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the 10-year anniversary of the UNCRPD by hosting a two-day Conference jointly organised with the European Disability Forum (EDF). The conference addressed numerous topics, including a view back on the 10 years of existence of the UNCRPD (progress made and advances that still need to be achieved), the efforts made on a European level to support the creation of efficient social policies in the EU Member states, rights of women with disabilities and the need to empower and protect them from multiple discriminations were discussed. Additionally, the Access City Awards were awarded to several European cities that had improved the accessibility of their infrastructures in different ways.

The Conference is part of the EU’s wider effort to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues in line with the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020, built on the builds on the UNCRPD and highlighting eight areas for action: accessibility; participation; equality; employment; education and training; social protection; health; and external action.