On December 3 this year, during the annual celebration of people with disabilities, the 2021 theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” This year, we are celebrating the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic. Since March 2020, every person on earth has been impacted by drastic political, social and economic change as a result of domestic and international responses to COVID-19.
This year, International Day of People with Disabilities should be used to recognise that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalisation, discrimination, vulnerability and exploitation are every day factors for many people, the increased risk of poor outcomes have been magnified with the reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs.
We call on domestic and international public health officials, political representatives, advocates, supporters, and every citizen in every community, to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during this pandemic, and push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks which will reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community on earth.
December 3 is International Day of People With Disabilities, an annual occasion designated to join together to support people with disability in our communities, and raise awareness of the importance of creating a future where people with disabilities experience equal opportunity and face no barriers in all aspects of their lives— whether it be going about their day-to-day lives with adequate accessibility in their communities, joining the workforce, or being able to showcase their abilities and reach their goals without facing barriers.