3 October 2007 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Special Olympics International today launched a partnership to advance the rights of children with intellectual disabilities to mark the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, focusing on health care, education, recreational sports and employment policies.
“Special Olympics helps those with disabilities to develop their full potential,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in the Chinese port city. “This new partnership will help make the point that children with disabilities have the same rights as all other children. They are entitled to adequate health care and quality education, and to live in an environment that protects them from abuse, exploitation and disease.”
The partnership will raise public awareness of the abilities and rights of children with intellectual disabilities and aims to change perceptions and challenge negative attitudes. It will promote the participation and empowerment of such children and their families in their societies, including through sports, and will seek to build their self-reliance, confidence and advocacy skills.
“This collaborative effort is in keeping with the goals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to counter stigma and promote inclusion for children with intellectual disabilities in developing countries around the globe,” Special Olympics International Chairman Timothy P. Shriver said.
“We are thrilled to partner with UNICEF to empower children with intellectual disabilities and their families and to increase public awareness about critical issues facing this population in the developing world.