Not All Disabilities Are Visible – International Day for Persons with Disability 2020
“It is people who deserve respect – not the white cane, the crutch, the hearing aid, the blue badge or wheelchair,” said CRPD Commissioner Oliver Scicluna in a message to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020.
Every year on 3 December, the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) joins the rest of the world in marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year, the Commission adopted the United Nations’ theme – Not all disabilities are visible – which aims to create more awareness about invisible disabilities.
“The white cane, the crutch, the hearing aid, the blue badge, the wheelchair and other devices are a clear signal that a person has a disability. A lot of persons do not use these assistive devices, however, but they still have a disability,” he said.
“Unfortunately society lives with stereotypes that often lead to prejudices. We should not be influenced by prejudices. An inclusive society is built on mutual respect without the need for persons to declare their disabilities.”
The Commissioner was also joined by Prime Minister Robert Abela who spoke about the disability sector and how it was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities comes at a difficult time for the world. I am aware that the restrictions that we have introduced in the past few months have had a negative impact on a number of disabled persons and their families. Some have not received the therapies they need so as not to endanger their health. This is a big burden which we have taken into consideration when drafting those measures that have helped to ensure that the virus’ transmission rate is kept stable with the least possible impact on the people.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that the pandemic came at a time of great revival for the disability sector in Malta.
“Never before, were there so many persons with a disability in employment or seeking work. The extension of the disability allowance to those who are in employment shows that government believes that disability does not fade away the minute one joins the workforce but we also have to think of those who absolutely cannot work because of their condition.”
He also mentioned that next year government would be furthering its commitment to give these persons the equivalent of the national minimum wage. He also mentioned that, for the first time, the disability sector also has its own dedicated ministry.
Opposition Leader Bernard Grech also pledged his support. “We have a duty to recognise that we each need to do our part so that all of us can reach their goals without difficulty,” he said.