Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed on 3 December:
Realizing the rights, agency and leadership of persons with disabilities will advance our common future.
We need everyone, including persons with disabilities, on board to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Around the world, persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are taking action to realize the call: “Nothing about us, without us”.
COVID-19 has laid bare the persistent barriers and inequalities faced by the world’s 1 billion persons with disabilities, who have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
A disability-inclusive pandemic response and recovery should be guided by persons with disabilities themselves, forge partnerships, tackle injustice and discrimination, expand access to technology and strengthen institutions to create a more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.
I urge all countries to fully implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, increase accessibility, and dismantle legal, social, economic and other barriers with the active involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.
On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let us commit to build a sustainable, inclusive and just future for everyone, leaving no one behind.