International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons claims people with disabilities have been ‘left behind’ and believes the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will play a key role in changing the way they are treated in society, reports insidethegames.biz.
Parsons has previously stressed that this year’s Paralympics – delayed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic – are the “most important” in the event’s history.
The Games are due to open tomorrow with about 4,400 athletes from around the world arriving in the Japanese capital to compete across 22 sports over 12 days.
Parsons believes the global health crisis has highlighted inequalities in society and is confident the Paralympics will push people with disabilities to the front of the agenda.
“Persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic around the world,” said Parsons.
“Different societies across the world have failed to protect them, have failed to provide them with the necessary services to protect them from the pandemic.
“We believe persons with disabilities have been left behind.
“That is why these Games are not just important to have, but they are needed from the perspective of the 1.2 billion (disabled) persons around the world.”
Parsons’ comments come after the launch of the “WeThe15” movement, which aims to end discrimination against people with disabilities.
New York’s Empire State Building, Rome’s Colosseum and the London Eye were among more than 125 landmarks from around the world that lit up in purple to celebrate the start of the global campaign.
The Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Rainbow Bridge were also illuminated in the Japanese capital.
Multiple international organisations, including the IPC, are uniting in a bid to transform the lives of 1.2 billion people with disabilities.
Other organisations include the International Disability Alliance, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
The Special Olympics, Invictus Games, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the IPC are also collaborating for the first time.