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30,000 people sign petition calling for governments to take action at the Global Disability Summit

Zambo and his friends
Zambo and his friends at a Sightsavers supported school in Cameroon Copyright: © Sightsavers/Rodrig Mbok

Sightsavers’ Equal World petition, which is calling for governments and global organisations to attend this week’s Global Disability Summit, closed today with more than 30,000 signatures from 111 countries.

The petition is part of Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, which fights for an end to disability discrimination and inequality. It was launched 100 days before the start of the second Global Disability Summit, and has been handed in to heads of state in participating countries through Sightsavers’ country offices. The petition has called for governments and global leaders to use the summit to make strong commitments on disability inclusion and to engage with representative disability organisations.

The Global Disability Summit will be held virtually on the 16-17 February, and governments and international and national organisations will use it to announce commitments to achieve real change for people with disabilities across all areas of law and policy. The summit is the world’s biggest gathering of people with disabilities, governments, and global leaders and is a vital opportunity to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

“We’re hugely grateful to the thousands of people from all over the world who have signed the petition and supported our campaign. The Global Disability Summit could be a pivotal moment for the world to make progress on disability rights, and it’s vital that decision-makers not only attend, but also make ambitious, properly financed commitments to disability-inclusive global development.” said Sightsavers’ head of campaigns, Tessa Murphy.

The first summit was held in the UK in 2018 and saw hundreds of commitments made to disability inclusion, but progress has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, while some commitments were too vague or not adequately financed.

Equal World supporter and President of the Association of People with Physical Disabilities in Dakar, Senegal, Dame Diou, has said, “What I want to say to our decision-makers is that a person can only be disabled when faced with a situation, but it’s not that his or her disability is a barrier. That’s why they have to understand that disabled people are citizens like everyone else”.

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