Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening ceremony for “Only wings matter: Breaking the stereotypes” photo exhibition, Geneva, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 13:45

Mr Director,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Friends,

I am happy to have this opportunity to speak at the opening ceremony for “Only wings matter: Breaking the stereotypes” photo exhibition.

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the Give Love to the World international charity foundation, which initiated this project, and members of the All-Russian Society of Disabled People and the Russian Union of Art Photographers, who joined this initiative and submitted works by the finalists of the “Without barriers” photo competition.

I would like to note the contribution of the Russian company Sakhalin Energy to organising the exhibition and, most importantly, to creating a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities in Sakhalin. I am happy to note that this is by no means the only Russian company with an active human rights record, including the promotion of disabled persons’ rights. Notably, the Russian Federation’s social policy prioritises cooperation between the state, the business community and civil society in supporting people with disabilities.

In the past few days, the Russian Federation’s report on fulfilling provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was discussed at the Palace of Nations. Six years have passed since the Convention’s ratification, impressive results have been achieved in this time. The amended Russian legislation now includes provisions on the barrier-free environment, social inclusion, reasonable adaptation and guaranteeing the rights of disabled persons in 20 areas, ranging from education and culture to employment and sport.

All this is very important for creating comfortable conditions for people with disabilities and for their full-fledged socialisation. We encourage initiatives to involve disabled persons in creative and sports projects, including alpine skiing and mountain climbing, and support the organisation of art workshops, music lessons and theatre productions for them. In November 2017, one such performance was shown here, at the Palace of Nations, during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

The recent decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to issue a special grant for holding an inter-regional parachute jumping festival for people with disabilities in the summer of 2018 has won public acclaim. Yelena Volokhova, CEO of the Give Love to the World international charity foundation, will discuss this project in greater detail a little later.

Many disabled people consider sport to be important for keeping fit and also as an opportunity to display their achievements. I hope that, despite all artificially created obstacles, our Paralympic team will make a worthy showing in PyeongChang.

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