Petition urges UN members to put disability laws into action

June 2019

On Monday 10th June, Sightsavers India is launching a petition calling for disability rights to be upheld by the United Nations and its member states. As a UN member the petition also includes a call to the Indian government to make all public places fully accessible by 2025 (as requested in the national Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016).

Sightsavers argues that this is vital to ensure the equal rights of people with disabilities are respected in India and around the world.

Sightsavers works to change the attitudes of communities, schools and governments by ensuring they adopt socially inclusive policies towards people with disabilities so that they are treated with dignity and are not denied their rights to appropriate healthcare, education and income in India.

It is estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population has some form of disability.

The charity’s Equal World campaign aims to change the fact that in many countries people with disabilities experience high levels of discrimination that prevent them from taking part in society.

Sightsavers India’s CEO, Mr RN Mohanty said: “In India and around the world, many a times people with disabilities are denied the rights to go to school, find a job, access health care and take part in political processes. This discrimination is not acceptable.”

“Our petition for disability rights has two goals. At a global level, it calls on the United Nations to make sure that its recently published disability strategy is implemented effectively. At a national level, we are calling on our own governments to ratify or implement disability laws and meet commitments they have made on disability inclusion.”

The campaign is ambitious in its scale and is working with local disability groups and individuals around the world to get as many signatures as possible.

Sightsavers’ Campaign Manager, Tessa Murphy said: “We want to show the widespread support for disability rights here and around the world. We want every government and the UN to know that people everywhere are no longer prepared to tolerate the rights of 15 per cent of the world’s population being denied.”

As well as its global call to the UN, the Equal World petition has specific calls to action targeting the governments of Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda.

Petition signatures will be collected between June and September, and the petition will be handed in to the UN and relevant member state governments in September to coincide with the UN General Assembly held in New York.

To sign the Equal World petition visit www.sightsavers.org/equalworld

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