Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
3 December 2019
On this International Day, we come together to promote the right to equality and the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in the life of our societies.
Today, over one billion people, or approximately 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. Many are still victims of multiple forms of discrimination, marginalization, and even violence and oppression.
Owing to the persistence of certain prejudices, inequalities endure, for example, in the labour market. This explains why the employment rate is lower for men with disabilities (53%) and women with disabilities (20%) than for men without disabilities (65%) and women without disabilities (30%). Disabled people are therefore more likely to face situations of poverty, while they sometimes have to deal with high health costs. Children with disabilities are also victims of inequality, which too often leads to them being unable to follow suitable educational paths.
However, year by year, consciences have been awakening and mentalities changing. This is the result of the admirable work of associations, whose tireless efforts must be encouraged and supported.
It is also the result of the mobilization of the international community, particularly through the adoption, on 13 December 2006, of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the General Assembly of the United Nations. In its preamble, the Convention reaffirms “the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination”. It is this ambition that serves as our compass.
这也是国际社会动员起来的成果，特别值得一提的是联合国大会于 2006 年12月13日通过了《残疾人权利公约》。《公约》在序言中重申，“一切人权和基本自由都是普遍、不可分割、相互依存和相互关联的，必须保障残疾人不受歧视地充分享有这些权利和自由。”这样的愿景，正是我们行动的指南。
The theme chosen for this year, which showcases the role of persons with disabilities, particularly reflects the pledge at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind”. This goal will only take on its full meaning if it mobilizes the initiatives of a large number of partners. UNESCO is playing its full part in this.
The International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education, held by UNESCO in Colombia, in September 2019, highlighted the need to build more inclusive education systems, and the role of education in helping to combat prejudice and discrimination.
To this end, UNESCO is providing Member States with its expertise and strengthening their capacities to integrate issues related to disabled people in their education policies by addressing teacher training and developing specific guidelines and tools. Our Organization is further accelerating data-sharing and best practices for inclusive education to foster cooperation and emulation among Member States.
UNESCO is active in the field of education; it is also active in the field of culture. We are therefore determined to ensure better access for disabled people to the wealth of world heritage, through the digitization of documents, for instance.
We must work towards greater participation for persons with disabilities: it is up to us, now, to build it.