Launch of International Advocacy Campaign
For Immediate Release Contact: Amy Rauworth
June 9, 2015 1-773-610-3515
Commit to Inclusion — Launch of International Advocacy Campaign
Promoting the Right to Physical Activity and Sport for All Children/Youth with Disabilities
New York, USA – At the annual meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Task Force on Physical Activity and Sport of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) will launch the international expansion of the Commit to Inclusion campaign. The web-based campaign advocates for an end to the exclusion of children and adolescents with disabilities from all forms of physical activity and associated areas (physical education, sport, recreation, play). It encourages individuals, organizations and key stakeholders to make a ‘commitment to inclusion’ that states how they will work to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities are realized and ensure their work is inclusive of everyone.
For too long the rights of children and adolescents with disabilities to physical education, physical activity, sport, recreation and play have not been realized. These areas are viewed as non-essentials and thus face consistent lack of support at all levels although they are undeniably recognized as part of everyone’s social and cultural rights. Children and adolescents with disabilities are repeatedly denied access. Typically, children and adolescents with disabilities are the last to be included in school-based physical education and community-based sports and recreation programmes. However, evidence shows participation is critical to healthy child development, life-long good health and social cohesion. Patterns of inactivity in childhood and adolescence lead to higher rates of inactivity, obesity and other health problems in adulthood like non-communicable diseases or NCDs (4th leading risk factor for global mortality). The serious lack of participation in physical activity is a major public health concern and even more so for the approximately 1 billion people living with disabilities, which the research says are at a much greater risk for developing serious health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
The CRPD – adopted in 2006 and ratified by 151 States Parties to date – expands on the right for persons with disabilities to participate in sport, recreation and leisure, as well as the right of children with disabilities to play, in the fullest expression seen to date in a human rights convention. But while the CRPD and numerous international documents outline the right to participation on an equal basis with their peers without disabilities, there continues to be exclusion and discrimination, both in the formation of new policies and practices at the international, national and local level.
The launch will take place from 3:00-4:30 pm ET at the UN COSP Side Event on ‘Realizing the Right to Sport and Physical Activity in 2015 and Beyond’ at the UN Secretariat North Lawn Building, Conference Room 3 and is closed to the public.
The launch of the international expansion has been made possible by the leadership and major contributions from Lakeshore Foundation, Institute for Human Centered Design, American College of Sports Medicine, UNICEF, UNESCO Chair “Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities, their Families and Communities, Through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness”, the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity, and Motivation.
Get live updates on Twitter by following @InclusionMeans and tracking #CommitToInclusion.
For more information about Commit to Inclusion, visit www.committoinclusion.org/international/.
“Sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person. Through sport, persons without disabilities interact with persons with disabilities in a positive context forcing them to reshape assumptions about what persons with disabilities can and cannot do.’
-United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace
 Note: Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. (http://www.who.int/topics/physical_activity/en/) and therefore is being used as the overall term to cover the related areas covered by this Task Force and the campaign, namely physical education, sport, recreation and play.
 United Nations Enable Website: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1563