Disability and rehabilitation

WHO celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

2007 Theme: "Decent work for persons with disabilities"

The theme for 2007 International Day of Disabled Persons was "Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities".  It is estimated that there are 470 million people with disabilities of working age. Across the world unemployment rates are much higher for persons with disabilities. Equally important is the sizable gap between the working conditions and employment trends of persons with disabilities and those persons without a disability. Many individuals with disabilities can productively contribute to the world’s workplaces if given equitable opportunities to develop their skills and access employment. Negative attitudes and the denial of opportunities are the main reasons for the low workforce participation of persons with disabilities.

The recently adopted Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes in Article 27 the rights of persons with disabilities to work and employment on an equal basis with others. A seminar was conducted on 3 December to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to review actions that WHO has taken and will take to ensure compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For employment opportunities, WHO is reviewing accessibility of the e-recruit system and is planning an interagency response for revision of this system as required. Furthermore, steps are being taken to review policies related to the employment of persons with disabilities.

For access to information, WHO is continually working to improve accessibility of the WHO web site which includes providing information in 6 languages, transcripts for pod casts and more meaningful link texts and ensuring all images have helpful, descriptive alternative texts to improve the use of screen readers. For staff this involves updating training materials to reflect these and other enhancements. Having had the web site externally audited, feedback from users with disabilities has and will be essential to continually improve access.

For access to infrastructure, WHO headquarters is ensuring that the main entry points to buildings are wheelchair accessible; installing ramps and lifts throughout the buildings as needed; providing dedicated toilet facilities in all buildings; and making dedicated parking spaces available.

Further steps are being considered to ensure that WHO's employment opportunities, our information (guidelines, websites, etc) and buildings around the world are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The official title of the Day was changed from International Day of Disabled Persons to International Day of Persons with Disabilities by General Assembly resolution 62/127 on 18 December 2007.