UN International Day of Disabled Persons

Today, people from all over the world will celebrate the ‘International Day of Disabled Persons’ with different activities, including forums, public discussions, information campaigns and sport events to focus on disability issues and raise awareness. 03 Dec 2007 By IPC

"I hope this event will start the public and media talking about the upcoming Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games"

The annual observance of the day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well being of persons with a disability. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with a disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

As part of the day, the United Nations (UN) invites to a panel discussion at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA. The panel theme will be “Dispelling the myth that persons with disabilities are unable to work”. Representatives from numerous disability organizations are expected to attend. In addition, the new ‘Human Rights - Yes!’ Manual, a teaching tool for disability rights advocates and activists, will be presented.

In Canada, Paralympians Amy Alsop, Lisa Franks, Karen Van Nest, Alexandre Dupont, Kyle Shaw and Shawna Ryan will mark the International Day of Disabled Persons by promoting the important role sport can play in the lives of people with a disability. The athletes will participate in a school day, where students from Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon, Canada, will learn everything about Paralympic Sport and are able to speak to the athletes and try-out sports themselves.

"I hope this event will start the public and media talking about the upcoming Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games," said Alsop. “The event today acknowledges 3 December by celebrating the achievements of Canada's Paralympic athletes and I'm proud to be a part of that."

Canadian Paralympic Committee President Carla Qualtrough added: "The goal of the Paralympic Movement is to make the perception of disability disappear, replacing it with accessibility, integration and equality. The event at Bedford Road Collegiate should help contribute to this goal."