Stressing Need to Safeguard Human Rights in Digital Space, Secretary-General Observance Message Urges Full Inclusion, Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

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

This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities shines a light on the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.  Our world is confronting a cascade of crises that are disproportionally impacting persons with disabilities.

We need transformative solutions to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.  This requires greater public-private sector collaboration to develop strategies for, with and by persons with disabilities.  The cornerstone of this cooperation must be the active participation of persons with disabilities in their full diversity, and their full inclusion in all decision-making processes.

Innovation and technology can be powerful tools for inclusion.  They can enhance access to information, education and lifelong learning.  And they can open new avenues for persons with disabilities to participate in the workforce and society at large on an equal basis.

But to realize the promise of technology we must close the digital divide and safeguard human rights in the digital space.  For our part, the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy presents a concrete road map to advance disability inclusion and accessibility across the work of the Organization.  From Headquarters to the field, we are working to assess, address and promote digital accessibility and lead by example on disability inclusion.

On this day and every day, let us work together in finding innovative solutions to build an accessible and equitable world for all.

For information media. Not an official record.