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Today, December 3, 2008, is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=109
This day has been celebrated on December 3rd since it was first adopted by the United Nations in 1992. It has been estimated that around 10% of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with disabilities.
On May 3rd of this year the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into effect. Today is also the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not a mere coincidence that the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated on the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since the rights of people with disabilities are basic human rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights commits nation signatories to provide assistance from the state to people with disabilities living in poverty, however throughout the world people with disabilities are not allowed full participation in the economic, political and social life of their countries. For example, ninety percent of children with disabilities in developing nations do not attend school. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=109.
There is no better time than today to make a renewed commitment to support initiatives that will improve the living conditions and participation in our society of persons with disabilities. All human beings have a right to self-realization. If society does not provide the means to integrate and allow the full participation of people with disabilities in the economic activities of the nation, then it will be creating a vicious cycle in which society condemns disabled people to become society's burden while at the same time it denies them the opportunity that empowerment can bring them.
As Albert Einstein stated, "All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual." It is time to recommit ourselves to ensuring that this opportunity becomes a reality for all persons with disabilities regardless of where they live in the world. If you want to learn about how other countries are celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, then follow the links below. http://www.ddinews.gov.in/Homepage/Homepage+-+Other+Stories/disablee.htm