In 1976, the United Nations General Assembly by means of Resolution 47/3 declared 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons. The UN General Assembly later declared 1983 to 1992 as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons to enable governments and organizations to implement measures to improve the life of disabled persons all over the world.
On October 14, 1992, the UN General Assembly proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Disabled Persons. This day was first observed on December 3, 1992. On December 18, 2007, the assembly changed the observance's name from the "International Day of Disabled Persons" to the "International Day of Persons with Disabilities". The new name was first used in 2008.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to "promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life". (UN 'Enable')
Each year has a different thematic focus. This year the International Day of Persons with Disabilities will focus on the role of technology in:
Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Responses
Creating Enabling Working Environments
Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals
Project ASHA’s 2015 thematic focus is on the sub theme of “Creating Enabling Working Environments” through its flagship programme ‘inCLUDEus’.
In April 2012, a bill sponsored by Abike Dabiri-Erewa was passed into a law by the Nigerian House of Representatives. The bill makes it a crime for any individual or corporate organization to discriminate against persons with disabilities either in terms of employment or making public offices inaccessible to persons with disabilities. The aim is to ensure full Integration of Nigerians with disability into the society and eliminate all forms of discrimination Against PWD. Failure to comply can attract either a prison term or fine or both.
The provisions of the bill include the right to work of PWDs on an equal basis with others, the right to opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open.
Section 60(1) of the Bill states that: “No employer or his agent or purported agent shall discriminate against a person with disability in any manner whatsoever and in particular but not limited to: (a) a job application procedure”.
This was a welcome development. But two years on, there appears to be no real impact of this bill in the lives of PWD in Nigeria. Project ASHA would therefore be highlighting this landmark bill and holding government and corporations to account in respect of compliance.
Where applicable Project ASHA’s ‘inCLUDEus’ would publicise examples of best practice and assist all organisations interested in benefiting from the talents and contribution of PWDs to achieve this. Project ASHA’s ‘inCLUDEus’ would also campaign for other provisions of the Bill including PWDs’ access to opportunity for promotion, advancement, transfer or training, and accessibility to public office buildings, disabled parking spaces, disabled stair lifts in Airports; Corporate Business Offices; Organised Private Sector Buildings; Banks; Embassies; Markets; Overhead Road Crossings; Bus Stops; Business Centres; Hospitals, Schools & Universities; Religious Centres and Government Secretariats and Offices Building.
Stand up and be counted. Join the fight to end discrimination against PWD in all aspects of life. Support Project ASHA’s ‘inCLUDEus’ Programme.