USICD Statement Recognizing the 2009 International Day of People with Disabilities

December 3, 2009

The membership and officers of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) today join colleagues and allies around the world in celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme, “Making the Millennium Development Goals Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world,” emphasizes the global need for the inclusion of people with disabilities in economic development efforts, for the broader goal of poverty alleviation. Policies of accessibility, inclusion, and opportunity for disabled people have a broad, positive impact for individuals with and without disabilities, families, communities, and whole nations.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) address development and human rights issues and together form the framework for international action to comprehensively respond to the needs of the world’s poorest people. The eight Goals originate from the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000, and identify targets for global poverty eradication by 2015, in areas such as maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability, and universal education.

Of the estimated 650 million people with disabilities around the world, approximately 80% are believed to live in the developing world, many on less than $1 a day. People with disabilities are therefore solidly represented amongst the poorest of the poor, with many especially at-risk during the current global financial crisis.

USICD supports this year’s theme of the International Day of People with Disabilities, that disability inclusion within the MDGs is an absolute necessity if the Goals are to be achieved by 2015. If communities and nations are to ascend from poverty, people with disabilities must be included; when disabled people are reached by poverty alleviation efforts, their broader communities also benefit from these initiatives. The economic and social empowerment of people with disabilities is good for societies locally and globally.

USICD believes that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) offers an invaluable tool for ensuring that the MDGs are inclusive of people with disabilities. The CRPD, an international human rights treaty, provides guidance to governments and international development actors on a wide range of MDG-related issues, including health, gender equality, education, and adequate standard of living. The CRPD also addresses the importance of disability inclusive international cooperation to support treaty implementation efforts at the national level. By following the guidance provided by the groundbreaking CRPD, countries are equipping themselves to simultaneously move towards successful achievement of the MDGs. Today, 143 nations have signed the CRPD, including the United States.

The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is a broad federation of US-based non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and individuals committed to advocacy and action on behalf of the global disability rights agenda. USICD is part of a community of American disability organizations that supports U.S. ratification of the CRPD as a means to broaden protection of the inherent rights of persons with disabilities around the world.

To learn more about USICD and to find helpful resources on the CRPD and disability-inclusive international development, please visit our newly updated and accessible website: http://www.usicd.org

To learn more about the Millennium Development Goals, please visit: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals

For more information, please contact David Morrissey, Executive Director. (202) 207-0338 dmorrissey@usicd.org