The Third Annual International Shafallah Forum on Children with Special Needs

“Sport and Ability”
Shafallah Declaration
Doha, Qatar
April 22, 2008
Recognizing the breadth of human rights and fundamental freedoms, a core part of which is the
right of persons with disabilities to sport and recreation, delegates from around the world met at
the 2008 Shafallah Center Forum to open a dialogue on sport and ability;
Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are
born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and
freedoms set forth in the Declaration without distinction of any kind;
Reaffirming the principles of equality for persons with disabilities in sport and recreation
embodied in the World Program of Action Concerning Disabled Persons and the UN Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities;
Observing the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human
rights;
Recognizing the role of sport and recreation in society in fostering social inclusion;
Acknowledging the valued existing and potential athletic contributions made by persons with
disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities and that the promotion of
the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities in sport will result in their enhanced sense of
belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of
society;
Realizing the potential of sport to empower persons with disabilities to realize their full
participation in the economic and political life of their community;
Considering the discrimination experienced by persons with disabilities in enjoying their human
rights and fundamental freedoms and barriers that exist in accessing sport and recreation;
Recognizing the double discrimination experienced by women and girls with disabilities in
accessing their right to participate in sport and recreation;
Reaffirming the need to ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other
children to participate in play, recreation, leisure and sporting activities, including in the school
system, community spaces, playgrounds and recreation areas;
Observing the need to combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices that hinder the
participation of persons with disabilities in sport and recreation, and the need to promote
awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities as participants,
competitors and spectators in sport and recreation;
Understanding the importance of access to a choice of disability-specific or mainstream options
for persons with disabilities to explore their sport and recreation potential;
Encouraging the participation of persons with disabilities in sport and recreation activities at all
levels;
Observing the need to facilitate and support capacity-building, including through the exchange
and sharing of information, experiences, training programs and best practices;
Encouraging the facilitation of cooperation in research and access to scientific and technical
knowledge of developing adaptive sport and recreation at all levels;
Recognizing the important role of international cooperation in supporting national and local
efforts to ensure that sport and recreation is inclusive of, and accessible to, persons with
disabilities, including inclusive development programs;
Desiring to implement the principles embodied in the International Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities and to secure the earliest adoption of practical measures to enable
persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in sport and recreation;
Observing that Shafallah delegates demonstrated leadership in advancing sport as inclusion
through exploring new and creative avenues for persons with disabilities to enjoy and exercise
their right to sport.
Now, therefore;
The Shafallah Center Forum encourages the strengthening of the dialogue among and between
individuals and organizations involved in disability, sport, and human rights to advance the
human rights of persons with disabilities in sport and recreation. The Forum further recognizes
the importance of education and awareness-raising to promote inclusive practices across cultures,
communities and society.

from here

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