Things you need to know Vol 25, No. 06 - June 2021

5 things you should know about persons with disabilities

Roughly 15% of the world’s population, around 1 billion people, live with a disability. It can be a physical, developmental, emotional or a sensory impairment. Each condition requires its own special attention to fulfil the needs of the individual. Here are five things you should know about persons who live with a disability today.

1. Independence is key

Persons who live with a disability should be able to make his or her own choices, enjoying the same freedoms and services as the rest of society. Failure to acknowledge each individual’s needs prevents them from fully enjoying their human rights and freedoms. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted to protect these rights.

2. COVID-19 has strongly impacted persons with disabilities

Persons who live with a disability are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Many cannot afford or are denied healthcare. Persons with intellectual disabilities are also disproportionately affected by the socio-economic consequences of the health crisis. As the pandemic has disrupted many services, it is necessary to implement structural reforms.

3. Women with disabilities are at a higher risk of discrimination

According to UN Women, one in five women live with a disability. They are more easily subject to discrimination and sexual violence, especially if they live with intersecting identities. All efforts for persons with disabilities must include a gender perspective to protect those at a higher risk of discrimination.

4. Many countries lack funding and training to integrate technological advances

Information and communications technologies contribute to the education of persons with disabilities. Accessible technology also allows for full participation in society, subsequently diminishing stereotypes on disabilities. Countries need more targeted policy and funds to support the right to education of persons with disabilities.

5. Persons with disabilities face restrictions in healthcare

Disability is often overlooked in the public health department. The lack of research and action, combined with lower incomes, often lead to difficulties for persons with disabilities in securing quality healthcare.


Stay updated on efforts to advance and protect the rights of persons with disabilities by following the 14th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD on 15-17 June 2021.

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