On November 15, the world population hit 8 billion, bringing the total number of persons with disabilities globally to at least 1.2 billion. The growth in the world’s population is coming at a time when several global catastrophes –including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change, and extreme poverty across the developing world – are seriously threatening the full realization of human rights for the world’s marginalized groups, particularly persons with disabilities, women and children.
As the world grapples with the effects of these global challenges, the World Blind Union (WBU) acknowledges the social injustice and deeply entrenched barriers that undermine the prospects of a more inclusive, accessible and equitable world for persons with disabilities. With these barriers in mind, we commit to redoubling our efforts to removing existing barriers and preventing new ones from being created so that all people who are blind or partially sighted can live the lives they choose.
On this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, WBU joins the rest of the world in celebrating the gains we have secured since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities in 2006. In celebrating the gains, we are also reflecting on the opportunities that the ambitious development and humanitarian agendas like the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development, New Urban Agenda, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Marrakesh Treaty, and the Charter for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action present for the disability movement.
On this important day, recalling the principle of leaving no one behind, WBU calls on government and non-state actors including the private sector to take the following actions:
- Adopting an intersectional approach in development and humanitarian planning, policy and action, highlighting how different structures like gender, age and race intersect with disability to reproduce compounded inequalities and social injustice.
- Allocating adequate financial resources for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life including but not limited to healthcare, education, employment, sports and recreation activities, and decision-making processes.
- consulting with and ensuring meaningful participation of persons with disabilities, through their representative organisations (OPDs), in development and humanitarian planning, policy and practice.
- Taking into consideration barriers experienced by those who are blind or partially sighted and ensuring full implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty.
- Raising public awareness about disability and ensuring reasonable accommodation and other measures are adopted and implemented to realize full inclusion of persons with disabilities across the world.
Image on top: Hridoy, a 13 year-old boy who likes to read using the Braille method/Syed Sajidul Islam