The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year on 3 December and promotes the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development. Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, peace, and security. Hence, it is vital to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.
Today, the world population is over 7 billion people and more than one billion people, or approximately fifteen percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability, and eighty percent live in developing countries. An integrated approach is required to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind. Disability inclusion will result in COVID19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better.
Hence, the theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, and reaching the furthest behind first. Realising the importance of defending the rights of disabled youth, many international organisations, governmental bodies, NGOs, and media organisations have been contributing with programmes and initiatives.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), seek to raise awareness and understanding of public towards all issues encountered by disabled people, youth included. In partnership with other stakeholders, we have taken many actions that support education for disabled youth and convention on their rights. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring dignity, equity, and respect for all people with disabilities. This is an opportunity to highlight how far we have come in recognising persons with disabilities as just another manifestation of diversity in our communities, and to stand in support of a society that embraces that diversity in all its forms and shapes. It is imperative that moving forward, we take the necessary steps to build back better in a disability-inclusive manner.