2001 Observance of the
International Day of Disabled Persons
MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS
3 December 2001
The theme of this year's International Day of Disabled Persons is "Full
participation and equality". It is also the goal of the United Nations World
Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, which was adopted in 1982.
Much has been accomplished, but the world continues its struggle to create societies in
which disabled persons enjoy the same opportunities as other members of the human family,
and are viewed and treated as equal partners in the social, cultural, political and
economic life of our communities.
To reach this goal, we will need innovative and non-traditional approaches. Information
and communications technologies can be particularly useful tools - to raise awareness of
disability issues, and to provide employment and other opportunities for disabled persons.
Social services programmes that involve disabled persons in decision-making are becoming
more and common. Training people in international norms, in particular the rights of women
with disabilities, is proving to be another avenue for getting a disability perspective
into the policy-making process.
People who have to fight daily to overcome not only their disability but also the
discrimination they face, typically show great patience, strength of character, and
open-mindedness. In a troubled world that needs all people to contribute their unique
skills and ideas, these are qualities we should cherish - and those who have them should
enjoy our full respect and support.
On the International Day of Disabled Persons, let us all reaffirm our determination to
create a society for all.