Special Olympics UAE has called on the international community to capitalise on the power of sports to usher in a new era of social inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities as the 12th session of UN Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, got under way at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Representing the UAE at the UN conference, Chaica Al Qassimi, a prominent UAE Athlete, highlighted the key role played by Special Olympics UAE in promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences in the nation.
A champion of inclusiveness for people with intellectual disabilities, Chaica described her experiences as a referee as well as a Torch Runner at the World Games Abu Dhabi, held in March this year, to draw attention to the spirit of inclusiveness that has taken root in the UAE.
Highlighting the performance of the UAE team at the World Games, Chaica said the Games offered a global platform to showcase the outstanding efforts of Special Olympics UAE in changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sports activities. It paved the way for new initiatives promoting inclusiveness and has helped create positive attitudes towards people with determination, especially those with intellectual disabilities, she added.
The UAE Athletes had put up an exceptional display of talents at the World Games to take home a total of 182 medals. The nation presented the largest delegation of 497 participants at the World Games this year with 297 athletes and their unified partners taking part in all categories.
Chaica pointed out that CRPD commitments and UN Sustainable Development Goals cannot be met unless individuals with intellectual disabilities are included as beneficiaries as well as influencers, who can ensure that persons with intellectual disabilities have the same access, opportunities and rights as other people.
Chaica also urged the private sector to join the Special Olympics endeavours to create an inclusive society and contribute towards finding innovative solutions to challenges faced by people of determination. She said the World Games in Abu Dhabi brought to light the critical role of private sector partners in this area as they joined hands in the efforts to empower over 7,500 individuals with intellectual disabilities from over 190 nations through the power of sport.
Commenting on Chaica Al Qassimi’s participation in the conference, Talal Al Hashimi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said, “We are proud of the honourable participation of the United Arab Emirates in this international conference. Led by Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, and participated by Emirati athlete Chaica Al Qassimi, the UAE delegation represented the nation’s unique experience in supporting and empowering people of determination at all levels.”
“Today we uphold the legacy of the Special Olympics World Games in transforming attitudes and inspiring qualitative changes in the society to achieve community integration and access to rights for people of determination,” he added.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 61/106 of 13th December 2006. It came into force on 3rd May 2008 upon the 20th ratification. Since 2008, 11 sessions of the Conference of States Parties have been held at the UN Headquarters, New York.