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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Shine a purple spotlight on disability

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the ILO took part in a day-long series of online events across six continents that called for countries to make people with disabilities a priority in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Press release | 03 December 2020
© ILO
GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) will be part of the global Purple Light Up campaign, which promotes the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These events bring together persons with disabilities thought leaders, CEOs of multinational organizations, politicians, disability rights activists and network/ERG leaders to connect and embrace disability inclusion. The free 24-hour Global Broadcast will start in Oceania at sunrise and end in the Americas at sunset, with the programme including discussions, interviews and best practice sharing across six continents.

“This year, more than ever, we need to highlight and celebrate the contribution that persons with disabilities make to our societies,” said ILO Senior Disability Specialist, Stefan Tromel. “The crisis has exposed the urgent need to embrace disability inclusion as part of a diverse and inclusive society.”’

A highlight of the day is a discussion which brings together Disability Rights ILO Advocate and Academy Award winning actor, Marlee Matlin; Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht, filmmakers of Netflix’s Crip Camp, a documentary on disability rights; Judy Heumann, world-renowned Disability Rights Activist, featured in Crip Camp; and the ILO’s Stefan Tromel.

The ILO is collaborating with Netflix on the Crip Camp documentary event and with PurpleSpace, a networking and professional development hub for employees with disabilities, network and resource group leaders and allies from all sectors and trades.

“Crip Camp (…) shows how the disability rights movement played and continues to play a critical role in promoting the required changes in legislation and policies that will lead to the full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities worldwide,” Tromel said.

On 30 November, the ILO Global Business and Disability Network adopted a formal declaration reaffirming the corporate sector commitment to disability inclusion. Earlier this year, the ILO published a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities. It has also drawn attention to the serious impact of the pandemic on persons with disabilities, who are working in the informal economy.