Shanghai, China, 3 October 2007 - Secretary-General's message on the occasion of the policy session held at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games [delivered by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs]I send warm greetings to all participants in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
This is an auspicious moment for disability rights. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was recently adopted at the United Nations. UN Member States are now in the process of ratifying this landmark international treaty, and I expect it to enter into force soon.
The Convention establishes a framework for promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment by persons with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for promoting respect for their inherent dignity. In this sense, the Convention shares the same spirit and mission as the Special Olympics and its principles of “equality, acceptance, and inclusion”.
But there is more. The UN Convention explicitly recognizes the important role that sports can play in the lives of persons with disabilities and in their communities. It seeks to promote, to the fullest extent possible, the participation of persons with disabilities -- including those with intellectual disabilities -- in mainstream sporting activities at all levels.
At the same time, the Convention also aims to ensure that people with disabilities have an opportunity to participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities.
The next two weeks will witness the inspiring efforts of athletes from across the globe. May t his moment also herald the beginning of a new era in which people with disabilities will have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
In that spirit I salute the athletes. And I wish all of you a record-breaking 2007 World Summer Games!
Statements on 3 October 2007