WeThe15: The largest campaign ever for people with disabilities aims to help end discrimination by 2030

Global organizations have come together to launch what they call “the greatest human rights movement in history” toward the inclusion of 1.2 billion people with disabilities worldwide.

The campaign called WeThe15 aims to end discrimination and improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world through public campaigns for accessibility and inclusion.

It takes its name from the fact that people with disabilities make up 15% of the world’s population and are the largest marginalized group in the world.

before going out Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Led by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), WeThe15 will work over the next decade with governments, businesses and the general public to bring about change.

Tokyo Tower (front) and Tokyo Skytree Tower (rear) lit up by tri-color lights for the countdown to the 2020 Paralympic Games. Photo: AP

The IPC, Special Olympics, Invictus Games and the International Deaf Sports Committee (Deaflympics) have come together for the first time in history to help promote the campaign.

The Quartet will use profiles of their respective sporting events to raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing people with disabilities around the world.

Andrew Parsons, President of IPC, believes WeThe15 can be a “real game-changer” and “the largest human rights movement for people with disabilities”. He also hopes that the upcoming Paralympic Games will “engage global audiences and showcase the campaign.”

The campaign will run for 10 years, during which Mr. Parson hopes to finally put disability “at the center of the debate around inclusion and diversity, along with race, gender and sexual orientation”.

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“By uniting many of the world’s leading international organizations and 1.2 billion people with disabilities around the world in a common movement, we will make a tangible, long-overdue difference to the largest marginalized group on Earth,” he added.

Paralympic runner Richard Whitehead wants to inspire long-term change

For athletes like Paralympic sprinter Richard Whitehead, the Paralympic Games, which begin next Wednesday, mean more than just winning a gold medal. It is an opportunity to inspire long-term change.

Il a déclaré à Sky News: “En tant que personnes handicapées, nous devons le voir pour croire que c’est possible et cela dans tous les domaines de la vie, que ce soit dans le sport, dans le divertissement ou sur le lieu de Action.

“When we get our medals, we go home and still handicapped and face a lot of obstacles and challenges in our lives.”

WeThe15 will also work across various industries, including business, media and the arts, to break down the social and systemic barriers that people with disabilities face outside of sport.

Entrepreneur and activist Kelly Gordon notes that talking about disability often revolves around sports, which can be “frustrating.”

She told Sky News: “After the Paralympics, everyone assumes you or you have the desire to be a Paralympic athlete.

“I am an entrepreneur and I have three businesses and I also have two children.”

Mum Kelly Gordon says talking about disability can be 'frustrating'
Mum Kelly Gordon says the conversation about disability often revolves around sports, which can be ‘frustrating’

In the field of employment and education, WeThe15 seeks to highlight the importance of assistive technologies in creating equal opportunity.

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“Access to assistive technology can be the difference between failure and success in school, or between a job and unemployment,” said John Lomoy, Chairman of At Scale, the global technology association.

The United Nations, the European Commission and various human rights groups are also supporting the campaign.

The WeThe15 initiative is aligned with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said: “WeThe15 brings together a unique group of partners – disability sports organisations, the disability rights movement, people in the private sector, researchers and the UN – to work together to change the discourse around disability and make development based on Human rights are a reality for people with disabilities.”

Marking the launch of the campaign, more than 85 international monuments were lit up Wednesday evening in violet, widely recognized by activists as representing the purchasing power of people with disabilities. These include the Empire State Building, the Coliseum, and the London Eye.

Münster Cathedral in Bern, Switzerland lit up in purple to highlight "Wyeth 15" Campaign Image: AP
Münster Cathedral in Bern, Switzerland, was lit up purple to highlight the Wethe15 campaign. Photo: AP

Meanwhile, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are showing their solidarity with the purple filters, and a 90-second movie will be broadcast on TV screens around the world starting Thursday.

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