Worldwide ‘WeThe15’ marketing campaign ‘will likely be led and managed by disabled individuals’ – Incapacity Information Service

A major international campaign for the rights of people with disabilities launched today ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics is being led and controlled by disabled people, as the two international organizations that lead the program have promised.

WeThe15 * is supported by a coalition of 20 international organizations from the fields of sport, human rights, politics, business, art and entertainment.

At the top are the International Disability Alliance (IDA), which is itself operated and controlled by Disability and Disability Organizations (DPOs), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The aim is to strengthen the “political will to support and strengthen” the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) over the next ten years.

This means that the UK government is likely to come under pressure itself, especially as IDA hopes to push for greater DPB involvement in policy-making, an issue on which ministers have faced significant criticism and will be brought to justice.

The campaign will prioritize different issues over its 10 years, starting with access to COVID-19 vaccinations for disabled people and then – likely – access to tools.

The campaign brings together IPC, IDA, sports organizations such as the Deaf-led International Sports Committee for the Deaf and the Invictus Games Foundation, as well as other international organizations such as the European Commission and the United Nations for Human Rights, and leading companies.

Despite the presence of several mainstream organizations and companies as campaign partners, Disability News Service (DNS) has received assurances from both IDA and IPC that WeThe15 will be a campaign led and controlled by disabled people.

An IDA spokesperson said: “People with disabilities, representing IDA, the IPC and staff from many partner organizations, have been involved in every phase of the development of the campaign and will continue to lead Wethe15 in the implementation phase of the campaign.

“It’s inherently a campaign for people with disabilities by people with disabilities.”

IDA said it was “very excited” about the “unique opportunity” to influence a global audience ahead of the Paralympic Games.

An IDA spokesperson said they were “very confident” that WeThe15 would “make real change” for disabled people around the world.

She said: “The full and effective implementation of the rights of people with disabilities as set out in the CRPD and ensuring equality for people with disabilities requires continuous monitoring and vigilance.

“In recent years we have seen setbacks and setbacks in many parts of the world, including during the COVID pandemic.

“It is imperative that public awareness and political commitment to the full realization of the rights of people with disabilities are significantly increased.”

An IPC spokesman underlined the commitment to ensure that the campaign is led and controlled by people with disabilities and told DNS that this would be built into its governance structure.

Ana Lucia Arellano, Chair of IDA, said: “Much has been achieved in the last 20 years with regard to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

“We have successfully campaigned for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and for its inclusion in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Looking to the future, we see that there is still a lot to be done if we are to achieve full inclusion of the more than one billion people we represent.

“We need new creative and innovative approaches, and for that we need a much broader coalition.

“WeThe15 has the unique chance and responsibility to achieve exactly that – to be a platform on which more and more and new actors come together and make the ‘nothing about us without us’ a real change for all people with disabilities.”

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “WeThe15 brings together a unique group of partners – disability sports organizations, the disability rights movement, people from the private sector, researchers and the United Nations – to work together to change the disability narrative and human rights-based development for Realize people with disabilities.

“We plan to build on the numerous Paralympic Games in Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles, especially in the local communities, to make it clear that upholding and promoting the human rights of people with disabilities is relevant, feasible and necessary – for all benefit. “

At the opening tonight (Thursday), more than 125 landmarks around the world will be lit up in purple, including the Empire State Building in New York, Tokyo Skytree, the Colosseum in Rome, the London Eye and Niagara Falls between Canada and the United States.

A 90-second campaign film (pictured) will reach at least half a billion people during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Tuesday (24th September).

The IPC’s decision to launch the campaign marks a significant change in its approach to the rights of people with disabilities.

Its former chairman, Sir Philip Craven, even suggested that future Olympic and Paralympic hosts should not be judged by their countries’ human rights standards.

In 2012, ahead of the 2012 London Paralympic Games, he named Atos – the company that was heavily criticized for the “Fitness for Work” tests carried out on behalf of the government – as the “top sponsor” of the IPC.

In the previous year, the retired wheelchair user and Paralympic athlete stated that he refused to use the word “disabled” to describe a person and would “definitely not” describe himself as a disabled person.

* They point to numbers that show that disabled people make up 15 percent of the world’s population

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