The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is celebrated on December 3rd each year. The theme for this year is “Fighting For Rights in The Post-COVID Era.” Globally, more than 1 billion people worldwide live with a disability. The United Nations promoted the day around the globe to encourage a better understanding of disability issues as 15% of the world’s population are persons with disabilities, accounting for the world’s most significant minority.
Empowering Disabled People – Disability is NOT The Inability
One out of every seven people is affected by disability. (WHO, 2021) “Disability” is an umbrella term covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or combination. People may be born with disabilities or develop them during their lifetime. Individuals may also qualify as disabled if they have had an impairment or are seen disabled based on a personal or group standard or norm.
Inclusivity, accessibility, and provision of equal opportunities are integral aspects of sustainable development around those with a disability; however, persons with disabilities face discrimination on all these fronts. The outbreak of COVID-19 has further widened these already existing gaps and inequalities in society. Accordingly, the United Nations has chosen this year’s theme to highlight the general issues of persons with disabilities that have arisen or deepened due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It seeks to establish an integrated approach to encourage a disability-inclusive, accessible, and sustainable global community, post the pandemic.
Enabling Change: A Day to Celebrate
The UN General Assembly proclaimed the day in December 1992, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 1982. (UN, 2021)
The day is designed to highlight the issue of living with disabilities in several ways:
A Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community. And help cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities.
A day of Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people living with a disability.
It is a day for Optimism – to look towards the future and create a world where a person is not characterized by their disabilities but their abilities.
Aa day of action – to show support for people with disabilities when all people, organizations, and agencies show their support. The day commits to creating a world characterized by equal human rights.
The Year 2021 Theme – Fighting For Rights in The Post-COVID Era
‘Fighting For Rights in The Post-COVID Era’ is this year’s theme. The day aims to raise awareness of the challenges, barriers, and opportunities for people who live with disabilities in the context of a global pandemic. Since March 2020, every person on earth has been impacted by drastic political, social, and economic changes due to domestic and international responses to COVID-19.
The goal for this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities should be used to recognize that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic.
We celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities by holding discussions, forums, and campaigns relating to disability. Communities are encouraged to organize meetings, talks, and even theater performances in local areas. These can range from hosting a musical to a play, with differently-abled people involved in these productions. Overall, the common goal is to show non-disabled people that a disability can succeed in society.
Health-conscious people may be unaware of various types of discrimination that occur because of perfect health. Involving differently-abled individuals in theatre and the arts helps eliminate stereotypes. (IDPWD, 2021)
IDWD and You
International Day of Persons with Disabilities should be used to recognize that those living with disabilities are among the most affected populations in the ongoing COVID pandemic. We must learn from the experiences of those living with disabilities to help push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks. This can help reduce the barriers that people with disabilities face around the world.
“International Day of Persons with Disabilities.” United Nations, United Nations, October 12, 2021,
“International Day of People with Disabilities.” International Day of People with Disabilities, July 16, 2020, idpwd.org/
“International Day of Persons with Disabilities.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 12 Oct. 2021, www.who.int/campaigns/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities