A global movement to represent the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities has been launched by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and horse sport’s governing body is right behind it.
The #WeThe15 campaign brings together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the worlds of sport, human rights, policy, business, arts, and entertainment. Together they will work with governments, businesses, and the public over the next decade to initiate change for the world’s largest marginalised group who make up 15% of the global population.
Launched ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 aims to end discrimination towards persons with disabilities and act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, accessibility, and inclusion. The WeThe15 symbol is intended to represent a world where persons with disabilities are no longer marginalised.
The FEI has welcomed the campaign spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA).
FEI Secretary-General Sabrina Ibáñez, who is also President of the Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations (APSO), said that Para Sports, like Para Equestrian, have shown the world that a disability is only disabling when it prevents someone from doing what they really want to do.
“While sporting events like the Paralympics have the power to show the world just how much Para Athletes can achieve, there is a real need to shed light on the challenges that some of them face as they go about their daily lives.
“A change of social attitude towards people with disabilities is very much required if we are to tear down the barriers that currently prevent them from contributing fully to their communities,” Ibáñez said.
“The WeThe15 campaign has paved the way for this change to happen. And it is encouraging to see the level of international support that the campaign has received to date and the long term commitment of all involved to addressing the needs of people with disabilities around the world.”
Para Equestrian sport is a unique form of physical activity involving two finely-tuned partners, the athlete and the horse.
In 2006, the FEI took the decision to bring Para Equestrian under its umbrella making it one of the first international federations to govern and regulate sport for both able-bodied athletes and athletes with impairments. The sport has grown steadily since then, and has seen greater levels of participation, as well as an increase in the number of international competitions and nations participating in the Paralympic Games.
The Para Dressage events at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo will take place from August 26 to 30, 2021.
• Organisations involved with WeThe15 include the Special Olympics, Invictus Games Foundation, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (Deaflympics), International Disability Alliance, UN Human Rights, UNESCO, the UN SDG Action Campaign, the European Commission, The Valuable 500, Global Citizen, Global Disability Innovation Hub, the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), International Disability and Development Consortium, C-Talent, Global Goals Advisory, ATscale – the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology, Zero Project, and the Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organisations (GAATO).