Human rights and sustainable development

Collage de imágenes de las escuelas saharauis para niñas y niños ciegos Eight out of ten people with disability in the world live in poverty. Addressing the vulnerability this group faces from a human-rights based approach and with the goal of ensuring no-one is left behind is the guiding principle of ONCE Social Group’s international activities.

Transforming society to make sure the 15% of the world’s population with disabilities can shape the future is a task that involves partnerships and synergies with international social movements, joining forces to strengthen the identity of people with disabilities as a part of the whole. That’s why our benchmarks are the European Consensus on Development, article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the 2030 Agenda, which includes disability in all its Sustainable Development Goals.

Based on the slogan of the Convention - ‘Nothing about us without us’ - and an approach focussing on reducing inequalities and a broad interpretation of citizens’ rights, we engage in advocacy work to shape legislation and policies, on the one hand, and international co-operation, on the other, around the following four major themes:

  • Prevent discrimination on the grounds of disability;

  • Establish the principle of universal accessibility;

  • Provide the resources needed to secure personal independence;

  • Raise awareness to ensure policy-makers and practitioners meet their obligations towards people who are blind or partially sighted.

Collage de imágenes de las escuelas de Tirana y Albania para niños y niñas ciegos o con discapacidad visual graveONCE Social Group has worked very closely with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, addressing its concluding observations regarding the countries we work with. We also follow closely developments in the 2030 Agenda at high-level annual political fora.

ONCE Social Group is also part of the International Disability Alliance, which brings together the main donors, international organisations and foundations from the disability world, and we run development projects in several parts of Africa where, thanks to our efforts, the Sahrawi refugee camps are the first place where all blind children attend school. We also co-operate in the Balkans and other areas affected by armed conflict. In addition, we promote actions in the area of culture, such as efforts to put an end to the so-called ‘book famine’ faced by more than 300 million blind people worldwide: the Marrakesh Treaty.

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