Tokyo Paralympics vital for people with disabilities, says IPC head
Written by tokyoclub on August 19, 2021
The Paralympics starting next week in Tokyo are the “most important” in their history as they will allow the voices of people with disabilities to be heard during the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the International Paralympic Committee said Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference, IPC President Andrew Parsons also said the decision earlier this week to hold the games without spectators was the “best move” in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in Japan, and stressed that the sporting event involving up to about 4,400 athletes can be delivered safely.
Screenshot shows International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons attending an online press conference on Aug. 19, 2021. (Kyodo)
Addressing reporters from his hotel in Tokyo ahead of the games’ opening on Tuesday, Parsons said the Paralympics are the only international major event that puts people with disabilities on center stage, and will allow the world to notice what they have gone through during the health crisis.
“Persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic around the world,” he said. “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.”
His remarks came just hours after the IPC announced a global campaign over the next decade to end discrimination toward people with disabilities.
The global human rights movement, called “WeThe15,” was created with multiple international organizations, including the International Disability Alliance, to initiate change by working with governments, businesses and the public, according to the IPC.