The Day is observed each year on 3 December to encourage better understanding of issues facing people with disabilities, and mobilize support for their quest for dignity, rights and full inclusion in society. This year's theme - Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society and development for all - provides an opportunity to further awareness of disability and the removal of all types of barriers - attitudinal, physical, social, economic and cultural - to realizing the full and equal participation of disabled persons in all spheres of society - education and training at the workplace and in politics, the arts and social activities in general.
To commemorate the Day, the ILO at its headquarters in Geneva will host a photo exhibit entitled 'Breaking barriers: Moving towards inclusive workplaces' - illustrating the historical evolution of the Organization's engagement since its early days in promoting employment and training for people with disabilities at work. The ILO's pursuit of social justice for people with disabilities dates back to 1925, when the first international instrument containing provisions relating to the vocational rehabilitation of disabled workers was adopted by the International Labour Conference. Since then, the specific concern of the ILO for workers with disabilities continues to run like a thread through its Conventions and Recommendations, with all International Labour Standards implicitly applying to them, and some protecting their rights in particular.