To celebrate International Day of Disabled Persons, we spotlight the countries improving care, understanding, and inclusivity for disabled people worldwide.
International Day of Disabled Persons is an annual celebration held on 3 December. Founded in 1992, it promotes the rights of disabled people and increases awareness of their experiences in every aspect of life, from politics to culture.
There is certainly still a long way to go, but major steps have been taken over the last year promoting the rights and well-being of people with disabilities worldwide.
Earlier this year, the British Government announced it would increase funding for developing countries, including Bangladesh, Uganda and Nigeria, to support disabled people finding sustainable employment, increase access to healthcare and reduce stigma and discrimination.
Increased financial support was also awarded to UK businesses and charities helping people with disabilities into employment. The Department for Transport also extended the Blue Badge scheme to people with hidden disabilities.
Meaning people with mental health conditions or on the autistic spectrum are now able to apply.
Though they still have a long way to go in terms of overall human rights, Egypt has taken the lead in progressing disability rights. In February, the law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was passed: the first legislation affecting people with disabilities in Egypt since 1975.
It provides a wide range of rights and protections for people with disabilities, including rights to employment, education, healthcare and political activity.
Earlier this year saw the creation of a special needs school, and a technological institute for people with disabilities was announced – the first of its kind in North Africa.
Earlier in the year, Canada passed the country’s first national accessibility law, in a key step forward in inclusion. The main aim of the act is to identify, remove and prevent any accessibility barriers in public spaces, technology and transport.
Approximately 1.2 million Canadians with disabilities live below the poverty line, thus the key aim of the legislation is to increase disability employment. Fines for businesses and organisations violating the new law could be as high as $250,000.
Technology-giant Japan has used their ever-growing technological landscape to benefit their disabled workers.
Telecommuting is the country’s latest solution for workers with disabilities or illnesses who would prefer to work from home, or cannot commute to work.
Increasing numbers of businesses are allowing employees with disabilities to work from home, and productivity is not affected.
Not only does this make the lives of many disabled people easier, it also ensures they are in sustainable employment on their own terms, rather than having to adapt to their employer’s needs.
These four countries have taken necessary steps forward to create a safer, more equal environment for people with disabilities. There is still a long way to go, and more countries would benefit from following in their footsteps.