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UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace is Special Envoy to the Paralympics

UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace is Special Envoy to the Paralympics

UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, is now in Beijing for the Paralympic Games.

Geneva, Switzerland, 5 September 2008

– Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, travels to Beijing today as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy at the Paralympics.

The Paralympics brings together more than 4,000 athletes from around 150 countries who will be competing as models of strength and determination.

“The Paralympics are a powerful example of what can be achieved when everyone is given the opportunity to participate and perform to their full potential,” said Anthea Webb, the UN Resident Coordinator (ad interim) in China.

“Long after the Paralympics have finished, citizens and visitors with disabilities will find it easier to get around Beijing thanks to the new sloped curbs and ramps for wheelchair users, braille blocks on sidewalks and special access on public transport,” Webb added.

In China there are over 82 million people living with disabilities, of whom 20,000 are newly disabled as a result of the Sichuan earthquake in May.

China was among the first nations to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force on 3 May 2008. On 30 August a Memorial Wall dedicated to the UN Convention, which outlaws all forms of discrimination in the workplace on the basis of disability, was unveiled in the Beijing Paralympics Village with the support of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

A number of UN agencies have programmes to assist people with disabilities in China. The International Labour Organization (ILO), for example, has been instrumental in helping China to develop its legislation regarding equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the workplace. It has also supported training people living with disabilities to find employment. And under ILO’s entrepreneurship development programme, the UN is helping people with disabilities to start their own businesses.

“People living with disabilities are like everyone else, they want to succeed and live independently and we want to help them achieve that,” said Constance Thomas, ILO’s Director in China.

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UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace

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Sunday, September 7, 2008 - 23:00

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