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New human rights movement represents the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities
– WeThe15 spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee
and International Disability Alliance

Landmarks around the globe to light up purple in support of movement

August 19, 2021 – Two of Canada’s iconic landmarks will be illuminated purple today to celebrate the international launch of WeThe15, which aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement to represent the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.

The CN Tower in Toronto as well as Niagara Falls are joining other global landmarks such as Tokyo’s Skytree, the London Eye, and the Colosseum in Rome to be lit up in purple, the globally-recognized colour symbolizing disability.

“We are incredibly pleased to have two major Canadian landmarks support this global awareness campaign in the lead-up to the Paralympic Games starting August 24,” said Martin Richard, executive director, Communications and Brand, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Canada has been a leader in creating safe and welcoming spaces, and recognizing the importance of equal opportunities for persons of all abilities is a strong message to create a more inclusive society worldwide.”

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, inclusion, and accessibility. In addition to the purple light-up, a 90-second-long campaign film that is a proud, loud, and vibrant celebration of persons with disabilities was also launched. The film will air across multiple digital channels, as well as worldwide TV channels, from today with the aim of reaching at least half a billion people by the end of September.

Spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), WeThe15 brings together the biggest coalition ever of international organizations 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 marginalized group who make up 15% of the global population.

Harnessing sport’s unique ability to engage massive global audiences and create positive change, the IPC, Special Olympics, Invictus Games Foundation and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (Deaflympics) have teamed up for the first time in history. The four organizations will use the profile of their international sport events and athlete communities to further raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing persons with disabilities around the globe.

Joining the sport organizations in this decade of action are International Disability Alliance, UN Human Rights, UNESCO, the UN SDG Action Campaign, the European Commission, The Valuable 500, Global Citizen, Global Disability Innovation Hub, UN Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), International Disability and Development Consortium, C-Talent, ATscale – the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology, Zero Project, and the Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organisations (GAATO).

Aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, WeThe15 aims to change attitudes and create more opportunities by:

  • Putting persons with disabilities at the heart of the diversity and inclusion agenda
  • Implementing a range of activities targeting governments, businesses, and the public to drive social inclusion for persons with disabilities
  • Breaking down societal and systemic barriers that are preventing persons with disabilities from fulfilling their potential and being active members of society 
  • Ensuring greater awareness, visibility, and representation of persons with disabilities 
  • Promoting the role of assistive technology as a vehicle to driving social inclusion 

For further information about WeThe15 please visit WeThe15.org and follow @WeThe15 on Instagram and Twitter.

Media Contacts
Nicole Watts
Manager, Public Relations
Canadian Paralympic Committee
nwatts@paralympic.ca / 613-462-2700

Philip Dorward
IPC Head of Communications
International Paralympic Committee
philip.dorward@paralympic.org