In monumental news for the disabled rights movement, organisations across the globe have officially banded together to launch what they state to be “the biggest ever human rights movement”, promoting equality, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion across the world for the 1.2 billion people living with a disability. Through WeThe15 campaign, 1.2 billion people have united together into a single entity, a single campaign, a single issue - the long-overdue improvement of disability inclusivity, representation, and accessibility. The voices of the disabled and disabled supporting community have come together, louder than ever, shouting that we will no longer tolerate the marginalisation of 15% of our world. We are equal, we are humans, and we deserve better. Disability protection and accessibility is a right, not a privilege. WeThe15 is a global commitment to the fulfilment of potential, for the celebration of global diversity, for united movement forward for the achievement of equality.
At its core WeThe15 brings to the forefront of media attention the need for accessibility and disability inclusivity. Through the campaign over the next 10 years, disability and accessibility will be thrust into the limelight, encouraging debate around diversity and inclusion equality. WeThe15 takes its name from the 15% of the worlds population that identify as disabled. 15%, 1.2 billion people - the largest marginalised group in the world. The global campaign will put disability at the heart of agenda and policy formulation, where for too long the sentiments and needs of disabled communities have been unheard and under represented.
Statistics conducted by The IPC state that 85% of disabled people around the world are living in poverty, 75% of countries do not have laws protecting the rights of their disabled citizens, and 50% of disabled people are not in employment. 75% of countries are failing to adequately protect their citizens. Countries are failing to utilise the skills and talents of 50% of their disabled citizens. 85% of disabled people are living in unsuitable conditions, without access to the treatments and facilities they need. This must change, and this must change now. WeThe15 will be led in coalition by both The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and The International Disability Alliance (IDA). Together, with prominent organisations across the world, for the next 10 years, they will work closely with Governments, Parliaments, charities, businesses, and organisations to initiate a greater push towards accessibility. This is the first time in history organisations from multiple facets of varying industries, have pooled together resources and are working in a coalition with one another to publicise the campaign across the globe. The core quartet composed of The IPC, The Invictus Games Foundation, The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, and The Special Olympics have dedicated themselves until 2030 to raise awareness to the challenges, discrimination, and lack of accessibility faced by disabled people. Speaking to SkyNews, IPC President Andrew Parsons stated the following ‘WeThe15 could be a real game-changer and the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities. He also hopes the upcoming Paralympics will engage global audiences and showcase the campaign’.
Archetypal outdated stereotypes of people living with a disability remain rife in society, particularly in less socio-economically developed countries. Too often people see the disability and not the person behind their label, having a disability is not a personality trait, WeThe15 promotes finding the individual behind the diagnosis. Those living with disabilities are people, not labels. For too long disability stereotypes have meant that disabled people are consistently underestimated and expectations lowered, disabled views and choices as humans are the same as everyone else and should be heard, respected, and honoured. An individual's capability must not be judged on preconceived perceptions, which fosters a culture of discrimination and ableism. The talent, skills, and knowledge of disabled individuals are beautifully diverse and longing to be included within society. The world as we know it today is designed around the wrongly conceived idea of ‘normal’, accessibility is failing to be considered with the severity in which it deserves.
WeThe15 will target every facet of daily life, from sport to entertainment, to employment to media. The disabled community is crying out for change, long-term change, to foster an environment of acceptance, inclusivity, and accessibility, with 1.2 billion voices shouting in unison, no longer will our voices go unheard. The potential success of the WeThe15 campaign shows a hopeful and inspiring start after receiving backing from The United Nations, The European Commission, and prominent human rights organisations. In conversation with Sky Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated: "WeThe15 is bringing together a unique group of partners - disability-specific sports organisations, the disability rights movement, people from the private sector, researchers and the United Nations - to work together to change the narrative on disability, and to make human rights-based development a reality for persons with disabilities.”
Tonight to mark its launch, 85 iconic landmarks across the world, from the London Eye to the Empire State Building, will light up in purple, a nod to the commonly known PurplePound,. This is the first time in history, the world has demonstrated such commitment to pushing forward disability equality. From today, Thursday 19th August 2021, social media platforms including Instagram have voiced their support, providing purple-themed posts and mainstream media channels airing a 90-second reel across the world. WeThe15 for the next 10 years will be at the beating heart of disability rights and disability awareness.
Disability rights, accessibility, diversity, and equality are standing on the precipice, taking their first stride forwards towards change. 1.2 billion people, 15% of the world, we are in touching distance of the equality that we deserve. WeThe15, The Conservative Disability Group stand wholeheartedly in support.
Written by Celia Hensman on behalf of the Conservative Disability Group