Secretary-General’s Observance Message Stresses Need to Account for Hopes, Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Accessible, Sustainable Post-Pandemic World

Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed on 3 December:

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities and societies at their very core, deepening pre‑existing inequalities.  Even under normal circumstances, the 1 billion persons living with disabilities worldwide are less likely to enjoy access to education, health care and livelihoods or to participate and be included in the community.  They are more likely to live in poverty and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.  And when crises such as COVID‑19 grip communities, persons with disabilities are among the worst affected.

Promoting inclusion for persons with disabilities means recognizing and protecting their rights.  These rights touch on every aspect of life:  the right to go to school; to live in one’s community; to access health care; to start a family; to engage in political participation; to be able to play sport; to travel; and to have decent work.

As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID‑19 world.  This vision will only be achieved through active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let us all commit to work together to tackle the obstacles, injustices and discrimination that persons with disabilities experience.

For information media. Not an official record.