International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2012

Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all

Site United Nations enable (english)

Sitio Naciones Unidas enable (español)



Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.

Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society. Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice.

Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. Barriers faced by persons with disabilities are, therefore, a detriment to society as a whole, and accessibility is necessary to achieve progress and development for all.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes that the existence of barriers constitutes a central component of disability. Under the Convention, disability is an evolving concept that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the CRPD and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights. The CRPD (Article 9, accessibility) seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. It calls upon States Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others, as well as to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

In spite of this, in many parts of the world today, lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility as a cross-cutting development issue remains an obstacle to the achievement of progress and development through the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed outcomes for all.

The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society.

How the Day may be observed

Based on the main theme of IDPD 2012 “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and
accessible society for all”, sub-themes can be selected to cover all aspects of society and development, including, but not limited to, removing barriers to education, employment, transportation, travel and tourism or sports. You can select a sub-theme to address a specific issue of exclusion and accessibility in your community.

Include: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all stakeholders – Governments, the UN system, civil society and organizations of persons with disabilities – to focus on issues related to the removal of barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society that would benefit all.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the themes of IDPD 2012 to find innovative ways and means by which barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families can be broken down.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase – and celebrate – the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change and development in the communities in which they live.

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action that would help to remove barriers that limit accessibility for and participation by persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.  Highlight progress and obstacles in creating accessible and inclusive society, including in terms of physical environments, information and communications technology and other areas, as well as promote public awareness of existing barriers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.

Events at UN Headquarters

(Detailed programme forthcoming)

9.30 – 10 a.m.: Musical performance
10 – 11 a.m.: Opening ceremony and launch of the preparatory process for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on disability
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Panel discussion: “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”
3 – 6 p.m.: United Nations Enable Film Festival 2012
6.30 to 8.30 p.m.: (Film festival continues)

United Nations Enable Film Festival 2012

Have you submitted your films yet? Deadline 20 November 2012

Find out more: See the details for submitting films and sponsorship

Events around the world to commemorate IDPD 2012

You tell us! If you are commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in your community and would like to share an innovative idea that includes other stakeholders, such as your Government, a UN agency, an NGO/DPO or a community, please let us know about it. We will showcase the idea on our website to inform and inspire others to do the same. Please send your ideas to

UN system

The Executive Secretariat and the Staff Union of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) invite its staff in Santiago (Chile) for a concert by the Orchestra of the School Santa Lucia, composed of young blind musicians from the Fundación Luz and a welcome address on the theme of the Day by ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary. Activities at ECLAC inlcude include a week-long art exhibition by young artists from Fundación Luz. The key message of the commemorative events is that full inclusion of functional diversity opens the door to fully enjoy the contributions made by different capacities. (

National and local commemorations

(New locations and updates forthcoming)

The Austrian Premiere of the award-winning documentary “Body and Soul”  ( will take place on 2 December in Vienna, followed by a discussion with the three main characters of the film and the film director. The cinema is accessible and an audio-description of the film as well as sign language interpretation of the discussion will be available. This event is part of the Austrian Human Rights Festival entitled: “This Human World” ( On the 30 November, dancers with and without disabilities are invited to take part in an inclusive contact improvisation workshop with the three main characters of the film. (

Belgium (European Parliament event)
To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as well as the Human Rights Day, CBM and Human Rights Watch will conduct a panel discussion on the “Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries” on 4 December from 18h-20h at the European Parliament, Paul-Henri Spaak Building, room P7C050. The panel aims to inform the future work of key international and EU actors on best practices and main obstacle related to the issue of political participation of persons with disabilities in developing countries. (Luisa Fenu  +32 2 256 90 01)

1. In Fort Saskatchewan, an event will be held at Pioneer House Club 50, 10102 – 100 Avenue that will include the reading of a proclamation by the Mayor. Local recognition awards will be presented, along with opportunities to greet and meet with the Ft. Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Northeast  Regional Disability Specialists, and local disability support and service organizations. Next Step Senior High will conduct disability-awareness activities and develop disability-awareness posters. (; 2. The Perth County (Ontario) Accessibility Advisory Committee will conduct the 2nd Annual Canadian Amputee Hockey Challenge at the Perth East Recreation Complex in Milverton, Ontario in celebration of the Day. The event will also include a free skate from 7-7:30 p.m. (

Czech Republic
Svetlo Pro Svet will organise an event with high school students in Prague. The day will start off with a screening of the documentary ”Body and Soul” ( and a discussion with the characters and the film director. Participants will then be invited to take part in an inclusive dance workshop, bringing together dancers with and without disabilities, the actors of the film and the high school students.

Faroe Islands – Tórshavn
The Ministry of Social Affairs, The Council on Disability Awareness and the Disabled Peoples Organisation (NGO) will hold an event at the Nordic House. The Danish Paralympic rider, Annika Lykke Dalskov, winner of four medals at the London 2012 games, will be the keynote speaker. The programme will also include presentations by persons with disabilities and Faroese music. ( or

An event will be held at the National Institute of Technology (Calicut) for school children entitled” “Role of technology in improving the quality life of people with disabilities”. More

1. The Center for Independent Living in Ireland will conduct leaders forums around the country to commemorate the Day. At the Menlo Park Hotel Galway, the Center will organize the Galway Leader Forum Fashion Show where members from all other forums will participate at the event on 3 December. The Leader Forum is a collective of persons with disabilities with common goals or experiences who meet to share experiences, take action to lobby for changes in laws or educating the public about social conditions. (; 2. Kanchi, launched its list of the Top Ten Actions for Inclusive Business on 3 November to begin the countdown to the Day. The launch also initiated the Kanchi 100 Recruitment week that called on  Irish businesses to make themselves more inclusive of persons with disabilities as  employees or customers; the Top 10 Actions are designed to get businesses thinking differently about disability. Kanchi will also release a series of case studies on the Kanchi 100 companies and their plans to become more accessible and inclusive for customers and employees with disabilities. (

An NGO, POIESIS, will organize a round table on “Culture and Accessibility” in collaboration with SoundMakers Festival, the first Italian art festival entirely accessibile to everyone ( The meeting will launch the first Italian “Guide for accessible events” (

Teso North and South Districts of Busia County have formed a joint organizing committee to arrange the commemoration of the Day at an event to be held at Amagoro Youth Polytechnic, Teso North District. Activities for the day will focus on removing barriers in access to opportunities in education and training, entrepreneurship, community participation, access to ICT and raising awareness on the special needs of PWD to the general public and include a procession, exhibitions (Agribusiness, ICT, artworks etc) plays, poetry, songs, sports and motivational speeches among other activities. (

Light for the World – Austria and Matthieu Bron will conduct a joint advocacy and awareness-raising campaign in Maputo during “Disability Week” (week before 3 December) and include Government and UN officials, as well as NGOs and DPOs. On 21 November, the documentary “Body and Soul” ( will be shown as a prelude for a high-level meeting with the Government and other stakeholders  on the recently adopted National Action Plan for Disability (2nd Plan) and successes and challenges of the Government to address disability issues. It will be followed by public screenings and debates on six days in Cinemas and theatres, and potentially universities. On 3 December a similar event will take place in Beira, the second-largest city in Mozambique.

The Netherlands
On 29 November, PSO, the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development, the VU University and LIGHT FOR THE WORLD Netherlands will organise a conference in Amsterdam entitled “Development For All: How mainstream NGOs can include persons with disabilities in their programmes.” (—29-november-2012-in-the-netherlands.pdf?sfvrsn=4)

New Zealand
CCS Disability Action, Canterbury & West Coast Branch will host an event on 2 December, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the ReStart Mall, entitled: “Christchurch, Celebrate Us!” to mark the Day. The event will be a celebration of disability culture through performances such as music, dance, poetry and other performing arts, which includes persons with disabilities, as well as able-bodied artists. (

1. The DPO, A Star Association, will organize and event at the Jala Baba Auditorium in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Government officials, students, school children and others will participate in the event where speakers will cover issues related to accessibility, political rights of persons with disabilities (Talk Show), implementation of the CRPD and barriers faced by persons with disabilities. (; 2. The Nawabshah Disability Forum (NDF) has planned a one-day seminar in Nawabshah to raise awareness on disability rights, especially in remote rural areas. The seminar will include a panel discussion and consultation, as well as a social gathering and networking opportunity. (,

Saint Lucia
Activities to commemorate the Day will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Education & Culture’s Special Education Unit and its special schools sports committee as part of a renewed physical activity drive. The event to be held on 20 November, will bring together children from the Island’s six special centers, Soufriere, Vieux Fort, Dennery, Gros Islet and Castries. Activities in the “Festival of Fun Day” include tug-of-war, frisbee, obstacle race, wheelchair race, soccer-rama, fill the bottle, block race, dress down, table tennis, etc. (

Saudi Arabia
The Center for Students with Special Needs (CSSN) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will celebrate the Day with sport tournaments, workshops, lectures, etc. The celebrations will initiate projects intended raise-awareness, as well as to promote accessibility at the University and expand its ability to accommodate various disabilities. (

The documentary “Body and Soul” ( will be screened as part of the ONE WORLD festival in Bratislava, Slovakia. It will be followed by a discussion with the characters and director of the film. This event is organised by END EXCLUSION partner in Slovakia, eRko. (

South Africa
1. The International Federation of People with Albinism and Blindness (IFPAB) in conjunction with Maurice Freeman Recreation Centre will commemorate the Day on 3 & 4 December at the Maurice Freeman Recreation Centre No 19 Fuller Street in Bertrams, JHB, under the theme: Equipping People with Disabilities in the AIDS Era. The agenda will include discussions under the themes: leadership, HIV / AIDS, MMC, dangers of drug abuse, albinism and disability. (; 2. The National Disability Rights Awareness Month will officially wrap up at the Bergvlam Hoërskool in Nelspruit, Mbombela in Mpumalanga on December 4 during a Siyahlola dialogue between the South African Cabinet, led by President Zuma, provincial and local political leaders, organisations of and for disabled persons and disability rights activists.  (

1. In Barcelona, the Library will conduct several activities to promote a better understanding of persons with disabilities and disability issues, including a story-telling session for children and a screening of the documentary film (Differents: Knowing the past, understand the present and reach the future), as well as a book presentation (The night is also white” Montse Baldrich) (Biblioteca Jordi Rubió i Balaguer,; 2. The Educación Física del C.P. Ramón Sainz de Varanda school a disability-awareness project will be conducted for the community. The school also plans to raise funds for a project in Nepal, as well as conduct inclusive adapted sports. (

United Kingdom
1. On Saturday, 1 December 2012, inspirational speakers, exhibitors, musicians, sportspeople and performers from all over the UK will participate in an event at the Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford to mark the Day (; 2. Wakefield District Radio Society will be operating the Special Event Station GB0IDD (International Disability Day) over the weekend of 1 to 3 December 2012 from the Wakefield 23rd Troop Scout HQ to publicize the Day. Operation will be mainly (but not exclusively) SSB on the Bands 14 – 28MHz; times will be as many as we can cope with – look out for spots on various DX webs. QSL via only. (; 3. The Merton Centre for Independent Living will conduct a roadshow around the London Borough of Merton in celebration of the Day. Venues include All Saints Centre, The Wimbledon Piazza, Merton Adult Education, Morden Civic Centre, Baitul Futuh Mosque, and “My Voice Matters” debate at Drake House, 44 St George’s Road, SW19 4ED. (Lyla,

IDPD themes from previous years

Quick links


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