The United Nations has declared today the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population is considered disabled and one-fifth of disabled people experience significant difficulties because of their disability. Many disabled persons experience disadvantages and stigma from societies across the world, including the U.S. where disabled individuals are put through a grueling process to obtain the Social Security Disability benefits that they are entitled to.
The United Nations has decried the fact that many disabled persons remain marginalized within society, experience disproportionate poverty and other disadvantages. The UN believes that empowering those with disabilities to be more active within their communities is essential to building a strong society that benefits everyone.
The theme of the 2011 International Disability Day is “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”
Areas of international focus include:
- Bringing disability issues to the mainstream by including a disability perspective in international development efforts.
- Including disabled women and girls in disability planning and discussions.
- A better inclusion of children with disabilities.
- Removing barriers and promoting accessibility.
- Promoting the collection of statistics and other data on disability.
The disability-related goals are part of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, a list of developmental objectives for the worldwide community. The international focus on disability issues will hopefully spur domestic change for disabled residents who are waiting for approval of their Social Security Disability applications. These individuals, like many around the world, may feel marginalized and disrespected by having to confront such a confusing and necessarily complicated process such as the disability application process.
Source: United Nations, “International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2011.”