Sightsavers hands disability petition with 50,000 signatures to UN

December 2019
A man and two women stand together, holding a petition sign.

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.”

More about the Equal World campaign

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Sightsavers and disability rights

We believe everyone has the right to learn, earn and be happy, which is why Sightsavers promotes equal opportunities for people with visual impairments and other disabilities.

Our work on disability

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