Development and human rights for all

Press release on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Geneva, 3 December 2007-- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights joins in the celebrations of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities highlighting the fundamental role that the right to decent work can play in empowering persons with disabilities and enabling them to live independent and dignified lives as active members of the community.

To celebrate the occasion, the High Commissioner today launches a series of commitments to improve the working conditions of staff with disabilities. 

“The international community adopted new international standards on the rights of persons with disabilities one year ago” the High Commissioner said.  “Those standards should apply to the United Nations as much as to States and I commit to promoting decent work in my Office over the coming year as part of this effort”.

The six commitments are: improving working conditions for staff with disabilities and for staff who have children with disabilities; developing and implementing standards on accessibility in the physical environment as well as for OHCHR's technology; sensitizing staff about disabilities in the workplace; consulting with Disabled Persons Organizations in improving staff conditions; introducing an internship programme; and reviewing the commitments after five years.

The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in December 2006.  Since then, 118 countries have signed the Convention which introduces new international human rights standards to combat discrimination and promote equality of persons with disabilities.  The Convention guarantees the right to work. 

Over 10 per cent of the worlds populations have a disability.  However, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is generally higher than for others in society, up to three times higher in some countries.


Back to International Day Main