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‘WeThe15’ campaign launched before Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to represent 1.2 billion persons with disabilities

Racing in a wheelchair during the New York Marathon
Photo: Shutterstock

The opening next week of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo is being used as a stage to launch a biggest ever human rights movement to represent the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.

WeThe15 aims to end discrimination towards persons with disabilities and act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, accessibility, and inclusion. The campaign is being spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee, UN Human Rights, the International Disability Alliance, and others.

Harnessing sport’s unique ability to engage massive global audiences and create positive change, the IPC, Special Olympics, Invictus Games Foundation and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (Deaflympics) have teamed up for the first time in history.  The four organisations will use the profile of their international sport events and athlete communities to further raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing persons with disabilities around the globe.

Aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, WeThe15 aims to change attitudes and create more opportunities by:

  • Putting persons with disabilities at the heart of the diversity and inclusion agenda
  • Implementing a range of activities targeting governments, businesses, and the public to drive social inclusion for persons with disabilities
  • Breaking down societal and systemic barriers that are preventing persons with disabilities from fulfilling their potential and being active members of society
  • Ensuring greater awareness, visibility, and representation of persons with disabilities
  • Promoting the role of assistive technology as a vehicle to driving social inclusion

“WeThe15 aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities and aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.” said IPC President Andrew Parsons.

“By uniting several leading international organisations and the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities behind one common movement, we will make a tangible and well overdue difference for the planet’s largest marginalised group.”

“Sport, and events such as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, are hugely powerful vehicles to engage global audiences.  By partnering with Special Olympics, Invictus Games, and Deaflympics, there will be at least one major international sport event for persons with disabilities to showcase WeThe15 each year between now and 2030.  These sports events add great value to the campaign and underline the hugely positive impact sport can have on society. I strongly believe WeThe15 could be a real game-changer for persons with disabilities.”

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