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Celebrating the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The Department for Communities and Disability Action co-hosted an online event on 3rd December to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Since 1992, the UN has marked the day annually on 3 December to highlight the benefits of including disabled people in every aspect of community life. This year’s theme is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world”.
Events to celebrate UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities take place annually throughout the world on 3 December to promote an understanding of disability issues and to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of disabled people.

Opening the event, the Minister for Communities Carál Ní Chuilín said: “International Day of Persons with Disabilities gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on how society is enriched by diversity. Disabled people make an important contribution to our communities. As we mark 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act came into force, we must maintain our focus on protecting the rights of disabled citizens.

I believe that a new rights-based Disability Strategy will provide a focus to our collective efforts in promoting the equality of disabled people.”
At Disability Action we work to promote, protect and uphold the human rights of disabled people. We work with people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, hidden disabilities and mental health disabilities.

Our Vision is for a society which is inclusive, adapts to meet the needs of people with disabilities, rather than one that expects them to fit in. A society that recognises disabled people’s right to be different and to live their life in a way which meets their particular needs without prejudice.

Patrick Malone, Disability Action’s Head of Policy, Communications, Information & Advocacy, said: “We echo the Minister’s words and are very grateful to her for taking part in this event. We are also grateful to the Department for the commitment they’ve given to having a prioritised, fully resourced Disability Strategy.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it is important to note that whilst much has been accomplished for and by disabled people in respect of achieving equality, there remains much to do. We hope that the new Disability Strategy will help promote a rights based approach and ensure that the rights of disabled people are put at the forefront of decision making in Northern Ireland.”

Read more on the 3rd December IDPWD celebrations – go to https://www.disabilityaction.org/news/celebrating-the-un-idpwd
Also a huge thank you to Derry City & Strabane District Council and University of Ulster at Magee for lighting up their buildings in purple. Disability Action began this initiative last year and this year again asked iconic buildings and landmarks across Northern Ireland to ‘Light Up Purple’.

Purple is the recognised colour associated with disability in the UK and in participating in this event local Councils and others are again showing their support to the Day’s celebrations.

Andrea Brown Interim Chief Executive said: “Disability Action is delighted at the level of participation we have received this year. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, when many have felt disconnected and isolated – it is great to witness so many iconic landmarks across all Council areas in Northern Ireland ‘light up purple’ as a demonstration of their encouragement to the disability community.”