How we influence Celebrating the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities Posted 03.12.2020 PRESS RELEASE FROM DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES The Department for Communities and Disability Action today co-hosted an online event to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Since 1992, the UN has marked the day annually on 3 December to highlight the benefits of including disabled people in every aspect of community life. This year’s theme is "Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world". Opening the event, the Minister for Communities Carál Ní Chuilín said: International Day of Persons with Disabilities gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on how society is enriched by diversity. Disabled people make an important contribution to our communities. As we mark 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act came into force, we must maintain our focus on protecting the rights of disabled citizens. I believe that a new rights-based Disability Strategy will provide a focus to our collective efforts in promoting the equality of disabled people. Patrick Malone, Disability Action’s Head of Policy, Communications, Information & Advocacy, said: We echo the Minister’s words and are very grateful to her for taking part in this event. We are also grateful to the Department for the commitment they’ve given to having a prioritised, fully resourced Disability Strategy. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it is important to note that whilst much has been accomplished for and by disabled people in respect of achieving equality, there remains much to do. We hope that the new Disability Strategy will help promote a rights based approach and ensure that the rights of disabled people are put at the forefront of decision making in Northern Ireland. The Department has commenced work on a new Disability Strategy and appointed an Expert Advisory Panel who at the event, presented an overview of their findings to date in identifying the key themes and actions to be included in the new Strategy. Further information on the work of the Panel can be found on the Department’s website. Events to celebrate UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities take place annually throughout the world on 3 December to promote an understanding of disability issues and to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of disabled people. Notes to editors: The Disability Strategy Expert Advisory Panel members are: Dr Bronagh Byrne, senior lecturer at the QUB School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, co-chair of the QUB Disability Research Network and co-director of the Centre for Children's Rights; Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Established Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland Galway; Sean Fitzsimons, Employment Advocacy Co-ordinator and Face 2 Face Project Manager at Disability Action; and Tony O’Reilly, human rights activist in the disabled persons’ movement and a member of the North West Forum of People with Disabilities (NWFPD) Management Committee. Participants from the Disability Action ONSIDE Project shared their personal experiences of the benefits they have experienced from taking part in the Project. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office [email protected] The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110. Follow us on Twitter - @CommunitiesNI.