St. Maarten commemorates Day of People with Disability

POSTED: 12/3/14 8:03 PM

GREAT BAY—St. Maarten joins the rest of the world today in celebrating International Day of People with Disability, which is a United Nations (UN) sanctioned day geared at promoting the understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.

The theme for 2014 is: “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology.”

Rapidly developing technology has changed the way people with disability can access entertainment, work, communication and basic information seeking. The theme focuses on the role of technology as a way to break down barriers for people with disability and how devices are becoming faster, cheaper and more accessible. The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, as part of its Calendar of Health Observances commemorates this international day with the provision of information regarding the international theme.

“Minister De Weever would like to congratulate all those living with disability on their globally recognized day,” a press release sent on behalf of the health minister and his ministry states.

“St. Maarten will work with stakeholders internationally and locally for a better future that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for all. The international community is working to develop a post-2015 development agenda that leaves no-one behind, and as a country we have a role to play as well in developing our own plan,” Minister de Weever is quoted as saying.

The UN theme highlights the role of technology in: disaster risk reduction and emergency responses – technology (especially social media) is changing the way we respond to crises and it is important to involve people with disability in planning and response. Creating enabling working environments is a second area where technology is an important enabler and assistive supports can be the difference between can and cannot; and thirdly, disability inclusive sustainable development goals. Today, there are over one billion people living in the world with some form of disability.  Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers. Disability is associated with 20 per cent of global poverty, of which the majority live in developing countries.

In spite of being the world’s largest minority group, persons with disabilities and the issue of disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks and its processes. Since 1992, the annual observance of International Day of Disabled Persons aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.


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