By Ere-ebi Agedah
The federal government has taken the receipt of a petition 48,063 signatures calling for action to protect disability rights ahead of a major UN summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this month.
The petition was handed to Hon. Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation at the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Abuja.
In a statement by Communications Associate Sightsavers, Joy Tarbo, the organization championing the protest, the 48,063 signatories are from 121 countries, including from Nigeria.
The signatories she said include Mr. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Dr. Zakariya Mohammed Deputy Director, OSSAP-SDG.
According to the statement, “National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD), Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, (JONAPWD) and Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign jointly organised the ‘Promise in Peril’ petition.
“The campaign is calling on world leaders to keep the SDG promise of leaving no-one behind and ensure disability is specifically addressed in discussions on the SDGs.
“The government will join other member states at the SDG Summit in New York on 18-19 September, to make new commitments and assess progress on the global goals. The outcome of the summit will be a political declaration and global and national commitments made by UN member states”, the statement reads.
Also, Country Director of Sightsavers Dr. Sunday Isiyaku said “As the world arrives at the halfway point of the 2030 deadline, progress on the SDGs has derailed – they are completely off-track. People with disabilities are being hit hardest by the lack of progress on poverty and inequality. The promise to leave no-one behind is in peril.”,
The call is in response to a new UN report which shows that the SDGs cannot be achieved unless urgent action is taken to include marginalized groups, including people with disabilities.
Sightsavers insists that they are being left furthest behind in global progress. “For example, globally people with disabilities are up to twice as likely to be in poverty and those without disabilities.”
Abdullahi Aliyu Usman, President of JONAPWD added, “We’re calling on all world leaders to speed up action on the SDGs and make sure they are inclusive of people with disabilities. They must ensure that the Political Declaration, and all national commitments made at the Summit, focus on reaching those who are being left furthest behind. This is our last chance to get the SDGs back on track”.