Fighting for disability rights
Join our Equal World campaign for an end to discrimination
Around the world, there are one billion people with disabilities. 800 million live in developing countries, and more than half are women. For many, basic human rights – to go to school, to find a job, to vote, to access health care – are routinely denied. This is caused by discrimination, and made worse by laws and policies that say all the right things but haven’t been fully put into practice.
It’s unacceptable that in 2019 disability rights are something we still have to fight for. But if enough of us raise our voices, we have incredible power to create a movement for change. We’re calling on the UN and its member states to protect, defend and promote the rights of people with disabilities worldwide.
Disability discrimination affects millions of people around the world. But this is not an inevitable situation – together, we can change it.
Read and share the experiences of disability activists, campaigners, and participants in Sightsavers’ education, employment and empowerment programmes.
The global petition was received by Ana Maria Menéndez, who is Under-Secretary-General and the UN Secretary-General’s senior adviser on policy.
Sightsavers hands disability petition with 50,000 signatures to UN
Sightsavers has handed in its Equal World disability rights petition, signed by 50,455 people, to a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General’s office in New York.
The petition is part of Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, which fights for an end to disability discrimination and inequality.
The petition consists of a global call for the UN and its member states to uphold the rights of people with disabilities, as well as national-level calls in 14 countries for action on disability legislation and policies (the national petitions are being handed in to the relevant governments).
As well as the online petition form, an innovative app was used to collect offline signatures by campaigners working in the field. People in remote areas could sign with their finger on a mobile device, and the signature collectors could then upload the information when they returned to an area with an internet connection.
The global petition was received by Ana Maria Menéndez, who is Under-Secretary-General and the UN Secretary-General’s senior adviser on policy. It was handed in by Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Sightsavers’ advocacy adviser for social inclusion and member of the committee that monitors the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, along with Juliet Milgate, Head of Policy, and Natasha Kennedy, Head of Multilaterals and Campaigns.
Speaking after the hand-in event, Natasha Kennedy said: “We were very proud to hand in our global petition to the UN today, while around the world our colleagues have been handing in their national petitions to their leaders. We’ve seen amazing support from all our campaigning countries, showing that people worldwide support our call for the rights of people with disabilities to be upheld. We’ll keep fighting for disability rights and for an end to discrimination – this is essential if the Global Goals set by the UN in 2015 are ever to be achieved.”
Will you fight with us?
What we're calling for
- The rights of people with disabilities to be upheld
- Governments and organisations to show leadership on disability inclusion
- People with disabilities to have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives
- The UN and world leaders to be held accountable for putting inclusive policies into action
Together we can end disability discrimination
The UN has published a disability strategy, committing to the full inclusion and active participation of people with disabilities in all its work. We need to make sure that it translates from words to action, and results in the UN’s member states making real improvements in the lives of people with disabilities around the world.
We’re taking action for disability rights in countries around the world, from Bangladesh to Uganda. Find out more by choosing a country from the dropdown list below.
Join the fight for disability rights
Get in touch with our campaigns team