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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

2001 Observance of the
International Day of Disabled Persons

International Day of Disabled Persons 3 December 2001

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.

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development