Asian Paralympic Committee President Mr. Majid Rashed attended the 12th session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which was held between June 10-13, 2019 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Mr. Rashed first introduced a side event entitled ‘Promotion of Peace on the Korean Peninsula and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through Sports, Leisure and Culture’.
During the welcome address he said: “In my position as President of the Asian Paralympic Committee I am privileged to see first-hand the power of sport to change the lives of persons with disabilities.
“For the individual, aside from the health benefits, it can give people the confidence to become more involved and contribute to society. More widely, it can challenge society’s perceptions of what people with disabilities are capable of, leading to more inclusion.”
He also highlighted the success of the Asian Para Games 2018 and PyeongChang Winter Paralympics and how it has changed the mindset of people adding to the growth of the Paralympic Movement in their countries.
“The Games were shown on TV across the region and the performances of many of the athletes has made them heroes in their own countries. They have become role models for all young people, not just those with disabilities. They show that diversity is something to be celebrated, that however different we may appear to be on the surface, there is much more that we have in common.
“And of course, this amazing ability of sport to build bridges was demonstrated so well in Jakarta when the Unified Korean team marched at the Opening Ceremony and later competed in swimming and table tennis as one team” he added.
During the session, APC vice president Jang Hang-Sook gave a presentation on how the Unified Korea team had come about and what the impact had been.
On the last day of the conference, Mr. Rashed was one of the panellists in the discussion on ‘1 Billion Voices: Making the Invisible Visible: Inspiring Individuals To Participate In Leisure Activities And Sport’.
He gave a presentation on the work that is happening to promote and develop para-sport in the Asian region, emphasising that partnerships between organisations, government agencies and the private sector are vital. He then took part in the discussion with six others that included Ms. Mara Gabrilli, Federal Senator, Brazil; Ms. Anna Burlyaeva, Programme Officer, UNICEF; Ms. Chaica Al Qassimi, Special Olympics United Arab Emirates Athlete and Mr. Mizael Conrado, President, Brazilian Paralympic Committee.
In addition to the formal sessions, Rashed and APC CEO Tarek Souei held a number of side meetings with UNICEF and various other NGOs and organisations attending the events. Souei commented: “The meetings have been informative and productive. It has been a great opportunity to discuss the needs of the Paralympic movement in Asia further and we hope that this will be the start of future partnerships.”