Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) Many people with disabilities in Pakistan and around the world still face the daily denial of their human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this inequality, particularly for women and girls with disabilities, and unleashed a human development crisis that has yet to completely unfold.
The Global Disability Summit being held in Norway in February 2022 is the world’s biggest gathering of people with disabilities, governments, and global leaders. It is a vital opportunity for government to address inequality and promote disability rights.
Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign in Partnership with Community Based Inclusive Development Network Pakistan (CBIDN) had been calling for global decision-makers, including the government of Pakistan to attend the Global Disability Summit, engage with people with disabilities and their representative organisations and make ambitious, properly financed commitments that will result in real change. Also, calling on the government of Pakistan to ensure the 2022 Census effectively counts people with disabilities. This will mean that proper legislation can be made to secure their rights.
The campaign executed for 100 days and it was endorsed by celebrities, influencers and general public. Thousand of people specifically youth signed the petition.
Consultation meetings ahead of upcoming summit were arranged by Community Based Inclusive Development Network Pakistan and National Forum of Women with Disabilities in which representatives of persons with disabilities from all provinces appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the govt regarding disability inclusion and said that participation of government in global disability summit is very important as this is an international platform where govt can express its commitment towards disability inclusion. The meeting was called before the upcoming summit to urge the government to make serious commitments for the rights of persons with disabilities. They suggested to Adopt gender and disability inclusive budgeting processes to ensure that women with disabilities can inform budget decisions.
Sightsavers Country Director Syeda Munazza Gillani said that many people with disabilities have been denied their basic human rights especially during the pandemic. The global disability summit 2022 is a chance to change millions of lives long-term.
The women participants with disabilities said that it is important to ensure that women and girls’ voices are heard in the development of recommendations to governments around the Summit. Develop thematic working groups for the coordination with ministries and donors on issues concerning women with disabilities. The participants emphazised on the development of thematic working groups for the coordination with ministries and donors on issues concerning women with disabilities and development of program and monitoring indicators for government and donor projects related to women with disabilities.