Think big. Overcome barriers.

Illustration of the hot air balloon 
with the five character on board

On 3 December of each year, we celebrate the International day of persons with disabilities, a worldwide event to raise awareness and understanding of issues related to disability. Promoted by the United Nations since 1998, the day aims to mobilize support for the protection and promotion of human rights of all and for concrete actions towards the inclusion of people with disabilities.

To better understand the transversality of disability, the United Nations annually identifies a particular theme to celebrate: this year is 'Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible for all'.

The video "Think BIG. Overcome barriers. "Wants to be AIFO’s contribution to breaking down the barriers that, in everyday life, can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. 
People with disabilities, 15 percent of the world population, far too often have to face many barriers to participation in all aspects of social life.

The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice. Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. Barriers faced by persons with disabilities are, therefore, a detriment to society as a whole, and accessibility is necessary to achieve progress and development for all.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes that the existence of barriers constitutes a central component of disability. Under the Convention, disability is an evolving concept that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the CRPD and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights. The CRPD (Article 9, accessibility) seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. It calls upon States Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others, as well as to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

In spite of this, in many parts of the world today, lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility as a cross-cutting development issue remains an obstacle to the achievement of progress and development through the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed outcomes for all. The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society.