"More than 1 billion of us live with disabilities. We must remove all barriers that affect the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society, including through changing attitudes that fuel stigma and institutionalize discrimination."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; President of the General Assembly; Tegegnework Gettu, Under-Secretary-General for DGACM and Stevie Wonder, UN Messenger of Peace, at the General Assembly's high-level meeting on Disability and Development, September 2013. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
Theme for 2013: Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all
Around the world, one billion persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society. They are disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, and lack equal access to basic resources, such as education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems. In spite of this situation, disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development agenda and its processes. In many parts of the world today, lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility as a cross-cutting development issue remains an obstacle to the achievement of progress and development through the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed outcomes for all.
On 23 September 2013, the United Nations General Assembly convened the historic first-ever High-level Meeting on Disability and Development, and adopted a landmark outcome document aimed at promoting disability-inclusive development to guide efforts towards the creation of a fully inclusive society through 2015 and beyond.
Building up on these progress, the commemoration of the 2013 International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to promote the need to break barriers and open doors to create an inclusive society for all.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked around the world annually on 3 December, as per General Assembly resolution 47/3 of 14 October 1992, to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues pertaining to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.