The Government of Pakistan has received a petition with thousands of 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 Rafiullah Kakar, Member Social Sector, Planning Commission by Munazza Gillani, Country Director Sightsavers. It was signed by thousands of people. Signatories include people from different walks of life and prominent personalities like Nadia Jamil, TV actress, Shabnam Baloch, Eminent Humanitarian worker, Saqib Rafique, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) and many others.
Community Based Inclusive Development, National Forum of Women With Disabilities 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.
Rafiullah Kakar, Member Social Sector, Planning Commission endorsed and appreciated Sightsavers’ efforts towards ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development process.
The government of Pakistan 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.
According to Munazza Gillani, Country Director Sightsavers Pakistan Office, “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 follows a new UN report which shows that the SDGs cannot be achieved unless urgent action is taken to include marginalised groups, including people with disabilities, but 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.
Asim Zafar, Secretary Coordinator of Community Based Development (CBID-Network) 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”.