The ‘Unity of the Different and Equal’ Festival: disability issues in a new format

The first-ever ‘Unity of the Different And Equal’ Festival dedicated to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities took place on 2 December 2014.

According to the statistics of the United Nations World Health Organization, approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population live with a disability, making the world’s  largest minority. This figure is constantly increasing as a result of population growth, advances in medicine and the ageing process, which is a signal to take action towards creating opportunities for everyone to feel equal and to fulfill their potential.

The theme of this year’s Festival is ‘Unity of the different and equal’ which calls for providing equal opportunities for all regardless of their physical and other features.

The ‘Unity of the Different and Equal’ Festival  is an attempt to draw public attention to the concerns of persons with disabilities, protect their dignity, rights and well-being, and highlight how the society can benefit  from their participation in its political, social, economic and cultural life.

In particular, the draft of the National Action Plan to prepare for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was presented as part of the Festival. It is noteworthy that the draft was presented through a video to display visually the importance of ratifying the Convention to ensure sustainable society development. The Festival also showcased some products made by social enterprises, while a concert program with Uzbekistan’s persons with special needs and youth was organized for the Festival visitors.

A special media campaign informed the public of the country’s achievements in strengthening social protection for persons with disabilities since it became independent.

The festival is organized by the UN in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Advisory Council of NGOs of persons with disabilities at NANNOUz.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated annually on 3 December, aims to raise public awareness and ensure equal opportunities for all. This day was established by a resolution of the UN General Assembly in 1992.