Health Minister Kim Wilson joined representatives of Ageing and Disability Services [ADS] earlier today to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

December 3 was designated in 1992 as the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities [IDPD] to increase public awareness and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

The theme this year is ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’. to focus on “empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

“The right to work is a fundamental human right. However, persons with disabilities are often not considered for employment due to negative perceptions regarding their ability to contribute or the high cost of accommodating their disability or inaccessible workplaces,” said Ms Wilson.

“Through the use of adaptive and assistive technologies, and other reasonable accommodation measures, persons with disabilities make a valuable contribution in the workplace. And, with the use of the right technologies, persons with disabilities are able to perform well in their jobs.

“The international Day of Persons with Disabilities is drawing attention to the available technologies and measures that can be adopted to create work environments that are open, inclusive and accessible to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate and contribute to the workforce.”

As “both beneficiaries and agents of change,” she also noted that persons with disabilities “can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote a resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction, humanitarian action, and urban development”.

“This important observance aims to increase awareness and promote the rights of persons with disabilities. These issues are as meaningful in Bermuda as in larger jurisdictions, as the well-being of affected individuals and their families is impacted in all spheres of society,” said the Minister.

“We must continue to focus our attention on ability, rather than disability. Given Bermuda’s scarce resources – especially human resources – it is essential that we ensure that everyone can make a contribution to society.

“We must not limit ourselves by putting barriers and restrictions in front of people. What we must do is to strive towards inclusion for all. It is important to continue to advance the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.”

  • Photos Courtesy of DCI