International Focus Today on Disabled Workers' Rights

Today is 2008's United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons, with this year's theme being the rights of disabled people to work on an equal basis with others. Marked by the International Labour Organization since 1992, the day gives governments, disabled persons, and stakeholders a chance to focus on challenges and gains made in political, social, economic, and cultural spheres.

This year, ILO offices in Geneva, Switzerland and elsewhere will work to raise the visibility of the barriers preventing disabled people from fully participating in the labor market. A new ILO report, "The Right to Decent Work of Persons with Disabilities," is being released today with translations in 10 languages.

The report says most people with disabilities tend to experience high unemployment or underemployment, have lower earnings than people without disabilities, and often drop out of the labor market completely. "Yet, there is a growing awareness that people with disabilities represent enormous, untapped economic potential; that they can make a valuable contribution to national economies," says ILO, which will host an event in Geneva today highlighting the report and the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2006 and provides a platform to help stakeholders ensure equal human rights for this group of workers and potential workers. For more information, visit www.ilo.org.

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