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Nov 03
It’s Disability Rights Awareness Month. What are you doing about it?

By: Lunga Memela (Communication Engagement Lead)

The Chairperson of the Health Systems Trust's (HST) Board of Trustees, Dr Dumani Kula, was pleased to announce the release of the organisation's flagship publication, the 2020 edition of the South African Health Review (SAHR). View it here at a glance.

The 23rd edition of the publication was themed 'Access to health care for persons with disabilities in South Africa', providing critical insight into barriers and facilitators, good practices, and successful service-delivery models for disability inclusion and rehabilitation. The topic of persons living with disability hits the spotlight again today as the country observes Disability Rights Awareness Month from 3 November to 3 December 2021. A month is simply not enough time to raise awareness and promote the rights of persons living with disabilities. It takes collective effort.

The United Nations (UN) named the theme for this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on 3 December, Building Back Better: Toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World. The annual observance was proclaimed in 1992 by UN General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims is to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

"Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future," writes the UN.

The UN further elicits that the global crisis of COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative. "People with disabilities—one billion people—are one of the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this crisis in terms of fatalities."

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said, "As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world. This vision will only be achieved through active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations".

The question is, what are you doing to make the world a better place for persons with disability? 

Disability is one of the seven focus areas identified by the South African Human Rights Commission within its mandate to promote, protect, and monitor the realisation of Human Rights in South Africa.

Read more about disability awareness from the World Health Organization.


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