International Day of Persons with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked on 3 December Matt Cardy/Getty Images

More than one billion people around the world have some form of disability, which is around 15% of the global population. Yet the world's largest minority group face several barriers which stand in the way of full inclusion in society, including discrimination and stigma.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, marked on 3 December annually, aims to promote empowerment, inclusion and access to reduce inequalities in society.

The day has been celebrated internationally since 1992 to increase public awareness, acceptance and understanding of people with disability.

"Let us work together for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive and sustainable world that embraces humanity in all its diversity," said United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

The theme for this year's International Day is "Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want" which focuses on the role of Sustainable Development Goals in building a more inclusive and equal world for people with disabilities.

This year also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a United Nations human rights treaty.

The rates of disability are increasing globally, in part due to ageing populations and an increase in chronic health conditions. Yet despite this, discrimination and stigma are still barriers to the full participation of people with disabilities to employment, education and social protection.

Barriers include the high costs of health services, limited health services, physical inaccessibility to buildings and public transport and mistreatment by healthcare workers.

The right to participate in public life is essential in creating democracies, active citizenship and reducing inequalities in societies. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote real opportunities for everyone.