70 years of development and inclusion for persons with disabilities

As the United Nations continues to celebrate its 70th anniversary, DESA continues to reflect on seven decades of economic and social development. The second in the series of seven short videos, entitled “70 Years of Development in 70 Seconds” focuses on the achievements in development for persons with disabilities.

When the UN was created in 1945, it was based on the principles of equality for all, and the dignity and worth of every human being. At that time, there was limited information about the persons living with disabilities, and little attention was given to the challenges faced by this group.

Today, estimates say that there are over a billion million people, about one in seven of the worlds population, that live with some form of disability and much has changed in 70 years. Including efforts to realize the rights, and promoting the empowerment of persons with disabilities, have been central to UN mandates from the very beginning.

In the early years, focus was mainly placed on charity, welfare and the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.  It then shifted towards a social model of disability, recognizing the barriers to participation in society for persons with disabilities.

The concept of human rights began to gain ground internationally in the 1970s, and in 2006 a major milestone was achieved.  The UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, a universal agreement reconfirming the rights to education, employment, healthcare, accessibility and human rights for people of all abilities.

Today, persons with Disabilities work together with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to create a world that is accessible, equal, and inclusive.

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