Development and human rights for all


Secretary-General opens 3 December meeting at UNITED NATIONS NY Headquarters to celebrate dignity and justice for all

New York, 2 December – Every year on 3 December the world observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year is one of particular importance – the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol entered into force and its first Conference of States Parties was held. The theme of this year’s observance is “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and Justice for all of us,” recalling the theme of this year’s 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - the first human rights treaty of the 21st century – aims to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. The Convention establishes strong equality and non-discrimination guarantees in all areas of life. It also protects the political, civil, economic, cultural and social rights of persons with disabilities. On the fundamental issue of accessibility, the Convention requires States to develop minimum standards on all aspects of accessibility of facilities and services. These standards touch on transportation, information and communication and other various other areas. To date the Convention has 136 signatories and 41 ratifications; the Optional Protocol has 79 signatories and 25 ratifications.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will formally open the observance of the Day at 9:30 a.m.. His remarks will be followed by a meeting of information and communication technologies (ICT) specialists and representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, exploring ways to ensure that persons with disabilities have a greater access to the digital world. Participants at the seminar entitled “Implementing the Digital Accessibility Agenda of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities for Signatory States” will discuss how to best implement the ICT accessibility mandates contained in the Convention.

The seminar is jointly organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict), in cooperation with the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UNDESA/GAID), DESA and the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DESA. (9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Conference Room 4)

Immediately following the morning seminar, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) will share a multimedia presentation by field experts about assistance to survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war in the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  In addition, a new toolkit for field staff to advocate for the rights of persons for disabilities will be unveiled. (1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Conference Room 4)

To conclude the Day, audiences will enjoy live musical performances by renowned Hungarian classical pianist Tamas Erdi, and Australian indie rock band Rudely Interrupted, currently on a world tour. (12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m, Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium)

For further information or interviews:
UN Department of Public Information
Cathy Smith, Tel.: 212-963-3748, e-mail:

For media accreditation: Journalists without UN accreditation who wish to attend the events should contact the UN Media Accreditation Unit:
Paulina Kubiak: Tel.: +1 212 963 6936,