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Saturday, November 5, 2016


1. Objectives, Background and Concepts
The purpose of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons is to promote effective
measures for prevention of disability, rehabilitation and the realization of the goals of ''full participation'' of
disabled persons in social life and development, and of ''equality''. This means opportunities equal to those
of the whole population and an equal share in the improvement in living conditions resulting from social
and economic development. These concepts should apply with the same scope and with the same urgency
to all countries, regardless of their level of development.
More than 500 million people in the world are disabled as a consequence of mental, physical or sensory
impairment. They are entitled to the same rights as all other human beings and to equal opportunities. Too
often their lives are handicapped by physical and social barriers in society which hamper their full
participation. Because of this, millions of children and adults in all parts of the world often face a life that is
segregated and debased.
3 An analysis of the situation of disabled persons has to be carved out within the context of different levels
of economic and social development and different cultures. Everywhere, however, the ultimate
responsibility for remedying the conditions that lead to impairment and for dealing with the consequences
of disability rests with Governments. This does not weaken the responsibility of society in general, or of
individuals, or of organizations Governments should take the lead in awakening the consciousness of
populations regarding the gains to be derived by individuals and society from the inclusion of disabled
persons in every area of social, economic and political life. Governments must also ensure that people who
are made dependent by severe disability have an opportunity to achieve a standard of living equal to that of
their fellow citizens. Non-governmental organizations can, in different ways, assist Governments by
formulating needs, suggesting suitable solutions and providing services complementary to those provided
by Governments. Sharing of financial and material resources by all sections of the population, not omitting
the rural areas of developing countries, could be of major significance to disabled persons by resulting in
expanded community services and improved economic opportunities.
4 Much disability could be prevented through measures taken against malnutrition, environmental
pollution, poor hygiene, inadequate prenatal and postnatal care, water-borne diseases and accidents of all
types . The international community could make a major breakthrough against disabilities caused by
poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping-cough and diphtheria, and to a lesser extent tuberculosis, through a
world-wide expansion of programmes of immunization.
5 In many countries, the prerequisites for achieving the purposes of the Programme are economic and
social development, extended services provided to the whole population in the humanitarian area, the
redistribution of resources and income and an improvement in the living standards of the population. It is
necessary to use every effort to prevent wars leading to devastation, catastrophe and poverty, hunger,
suffering, diseases and mass disability of people, and therefore to adopt measures at all levels to strengthen
international peace and security, to settle all international disputes by peaceful means and to eliminate all
forms of racism and racial discrimination in countries where they still exist. It would also be desirable to
recommend to all States Members of the United Nations that they maximize the use of their resources for
peaceful purposes, including prevention of disability and satisfaction of the needs of disabled persons. All
forms of technical assistance that help developing countries to move towards these objectives can support
the implementation of the Programme.The realization of these objectives will, however, require extended
periods of effort, during which the number of disabled persons is likely to increase. Without effective
remedial action, the consequences of disability will add to the obstacles to development. Hence, it is
essential that all nations should include in their general development plans immediate measures for the
prevention of disability, for the rehabilitation of disabled persons and for the equalization of opportunities.