Today (3 December) is the International Day of Disabled Persons. Proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3, it aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. This year (2018), the theme is ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’.
This year’s theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.
Despite the day being observed for the past 26 years, it still remains a question as to how inclusive our society is towards persons with physical challenges. Many buildings, both public and private, still remain inaccessible for the differently-abled as they don’t have ramps. Our trains and buses don’t have special measures for the easy boarding of such people.
It is high time the government and people joined hands to make this world an inclusive and equal place to live for all, especially physically-challenged people. Measures should be taken to instal ramps and other disabled-friendly facilities in all buildings. Public transport should be made easily accessible to them. As mentioned in a UN note, “Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a ‘team’ to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”