I am pleased to send greetings to the 18th Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk and Magnitogorsk.
I congratulate the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf and the Russian Committee of Deaf Sports for hosting this important event.
The Deaflympics are a vital element in the Olympic Movement’s Sport for All initiative.
Sport is fundamental for the growth and development of all, regardless of age, ability, origin, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Sport fosters inclusion and unites people from all walks of life.
It helps to eliminate prevailing stereotypes and remove stigma in our societies.
Sport helps us to value diversity and recognize the rights -- and the capacity -- of persons with disabilities.
The United Nations is committed to these ends.
Events such as the Deaflympics show us that sport belongs to everyone.
They contribute to improving the lives and opportunities of persons with disabilities beyond the realm of sport.
I encourage all sporting organizations to follow the outstanding example of the Deaflympics in advancing an inclusive society with equal rights for all.
I wish this 18th Winter Deaflympics every success, with much enjoyment and many inspiring athletic performances.