A global campaign to end discrimination against the 1.2 billion people with disabilities in the world was launched on Thursday, led by Paralympic leaders and supported by a broad group of international organizations.
The campaign, called WeThe15, is said to be “the greatest human rights movement of all time” and represent the 15 percent of the world population who are estimated by the UN to be disabled.
Supported by the company’s strength and the bringing together of organizations from the fields of sports, human rights, politics, and arts and entertainment, the launch will take place less than a week before the opening of the Paralympics in Tokyo on August 24th.
“We believe it will really be a game changer,” said the head of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, to AFP.
“The fact that the Paralympics are in Tokyo can be a platform for that. It’s incredible.”
The campaign aims to mimic other human rights movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo and comes with a sleek visual identity based on the color purple.
More than 125 landmarks around the world – from the Empire State Building in New York to the Colosseum in Rome – will be lit up in purple on Thursday.
“We want to put disability at the heart of the inclusion agenda,” said Craig Spence, IPC’s chief brand and communications officer.
“There have been so many advances in ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation in recent years. But disability has been forgotten even though it overlaps these three areas.”
Social media companies are also on board, and celebrities from former soccer star David Beckham to chat show queen Oprah Winfrey have supported the campaign.
Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Foundation is also involved.
The campaign is planned to run for a decade, each year focusing on a different aspect of discrimination against people with disabilities, including in the areas of employment and education.
The story goes on
The start takes place days before the opening of the Paralympics, which, according to the organizers, are a force to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities and to raise awareness of discrimination.
The IPC expects billions of viewers to attend the Tokyo Paralympics, benefiting from free-to-air coverage of the event in sub-Saharan Africa.
Spence said the 2012 London Paralympics – which saw the public purchase 2.78 million tickets – changed “one in three attitudes towards disability” in the UK.
He also said research showed that six years after the Games, one million more people with disabilities were employed than before.
“The Paralympics obviously had an impact on that,” he said.
“That probably encouraged us to run this campaign because we could measure the impact the Paralympic Games had on changing attitudes towards disability and transforming society.”
amk / saw / jah