International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 December 2020


Proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is intended to promote the rights and well-being of those living with a disability.
More than one billion people worldwide have a disability. One in every five women will experience disability in her lifetime, and a woman with a disability is 10 times more likely to experience sexual violence than someone who doesn’t have one. Young people, especially girls, are particularly vulnerable to violence more than their peers without disabilities. Too often, disability discrimination excludes people from health care, education, employment and participating in society. Too often, those with disabilities are denied agency to make choices for themselves and undergo human rights violations like forced contraception and sterilization.

UNFPA’s work focuses on giving all women, adolescents and youth the information and access necessary to guide decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Its We Decide programme promotes the human rights of women and young people with disabilities with access to sexual and reproductive health services, information and education, including preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence, at its centre.  

“How can we ensure everyone realizes their rights and choices? What must happen to make services accessible, and to open equal opportunities to live and thrive? How do we rid societies of the stigma and discrimination that persons with disabilities all too often face?” says Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA. “These are questions that we must answer – and act on – urgently.”

Today is just one day, but it reminds us to work every day toward an inclusive world in which no one is left behind.

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