March 6, 2014 (ISN) – The ribbon of the Paralympic Wall was officially cut on Thursday (6 March) at the Coastal Paralympic Village by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven alongside UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Kozak and Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of Sochi 2014.
They were joined by two-time Paralympic swimming champion Olesya Vladykina, Mayor of the Coastal Village.
The Wall, which is the Paralympic Movement’s ongoing salute to the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities, was signed by the attending dignitaries in a show of their commitment to the furtherance and observance of the Convention.
Sir Philip said: “I truly believe Russia’s first Paralympics can have the biggest impact on the host country, helping to transform the lives of 13 million Russians with an impairment.
“Just by staging these Games, Russia is sending a clear message to the world that it is willing, and wanting, to change.
“That message has been reinforced in recent years through the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities, the passing of federal laws designed to improve the lives of people with an impairment, and by the creation of a barrier free Games infrastructure here in Sochi.”
The Paralympic Wall is located in the international zone of the Paralympic Village, which has been built to be fully accessible, and can be signed by anyone.
It is hoped that by the end of Sochi 2014, hundreds of athletes, coaches, team officials and visitors to the Village will sign the Wall.
The structure has become a popular fixture of both Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, providing a place where people can show their support for the Paralympic Movement and personal commitment to the Convention.
The UN Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities features 50 articles. Articles 4 through to 32 define the rights of people with disabilities and the obligations the state parties have towards them. These include accessibility, equality and non-discrimination, living independently, mobility and participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will open on Friday (7 March), kicking off nine days of action which will see 547 athletes from 45 countries compete for 72 gold medals, with pictures beamed to a record 55 plus countries around the world.