Monday 2 December was the International Day for Persons with Disabilities – a day when people all over the world come together for a shared goal; to improve the lives of people with disabilities whatever their condition or nationality.

On the day, many MS organisations took part in events to mark the day. For example, in Madrid, Spain EME marched with other organisations under the banner “Disability SOS”.

Sandra Fernández Villota, Communications Manager at EME Spain, said: “Joining forces and energy with other organisations for people with disabilities is so important. It makes us stronger and gives us a common voice and message in advocacy. We are working together to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in wider society and increasing public awareness of the barriers that we face in achieving this goal.

“By coming together we are more visible, we show our strength and we can’t be ignored. Joint actions are an important steps towards the empowerment of the collective at all levels.”

In Russia, the All-Russian MS Society worked with the All-Russian Patients’ Union to organise a two-day Congress to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in Russia.

The All-Russian Patients Union speaks for the interests of more 10 million Russians. They represent patients, many of whom have disabilities, their families and friends, health professionals, policy makers and politicians in 80 regions of the Russian Federation.

The Congress aimed to create dialogue between patients, health professionals and policy makers in order to improve the quality of life of patients, people with disabilities and their families and friends.

More than one billion people – around 15 per cent of the world’s population – live with some form of disability. Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are considered to be human rights as established in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many national governments are yet to ratify the convention in their countries.

It was great to hear recently that the Russian government has ratified the Convention. In the US, campaigners fought hard to get ratification on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, but unfortunately failed to reach the required two thirds Senate majority by five votes.

In two years’ time there may be a new chance to campaign again for ratification after new congress elections.

To find out whether the CRPD has been ratified in your country visit the UN Enable website.

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