Tokyo, Aug 22 (Representative) With the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 Paralympics just days away, multiple leading international organizations have united to launch “WeThe15” campaign, aiming to end discrimination towards persons with disabilities and to act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, accessibility, and inclusion. Led by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), “WeThe15” brings together the biggest coalition ever of international organizations from the worlds of sport, human rights, policy, business, arts, and entertainment. WeThe15 will work together with governments, businesses, and the public over the next decade to initiate change for the world’s largest marginalized group who make up 15 percent of the global population. “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. “We plan to build on the multiple Paralympic Games in Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles, particularly in the local communities, to make it clear that upholding and advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities is relevant, doable and necessary – for everyone’s benefit,” Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, added.
As purple has long been associated with the disability community, more than 125 iconic landmarks all over the world lighted up purple on August 19 to celebrate the launch of the campaign, such as Tokyo Skytree and Rainbow Bridge, the London Eye, New York’s Empire State Building. This is the first time a vibrant symbol exists that can unite the community and call for actionable change. Chinese Paralympic athlete, Wang Yanzhang told Xinhua that he believes the global action of “We are 15” will help more people learn about the disabled community and the spirit of the Paralympic Games. “People with disabilities can get more attention, and at the same time promote the development of the Paralympics and the well-being of people with disabilities. I hope more people around the world will pay attention to this event,” Wang said. “I really appreciate the IPC for launching the ‘We are 15’ campaign ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics, to raise awareness by lighting up landmarks. “I believe that as long as everyone has a heart full of love and positive energy, there will be friendly and harmonious sounds and smiling faces everywhere at all times,” Wang added.