It gives UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation a great pleasure to congratulate the Nepal Women's Blind Cricket team for winning the First International Women’s Blind Cricket Series in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday, 4 February. As they return home with the trophy, we are delighted to have supported the Cricket Association of the Blind, Nepal, to play the international series and believe that these matches have helped the female blind cricketers acquire more skills, develop independence, and become empowered to act as agents of change.
Nepal’s successful participation in the T-20 international series between women blind cricket teams of Nepal and Pakistan, and the wide admiration both sides have drawn nationally and globally, shows that sports help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability by highlighting their skills and potentials.
“Sport is a platform that can change the lives of women and girls with disability by providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate their physical ability, empowering them to realize their full potential and help to reduce existing gender stereotypes,” says UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal Ms. Valerie Julliand.
Women and girls with disabilities often face multiple societal barriers and disability evokes discrimination across Nepal. Young women with disabilities face up to 10 times more gender-based violence than those without disabilities, according to a 2018 report from UNFPA. This highlights that women with disabilities are still deprived of opportunities essential to their social development, health and well-being.
As we look to the future for the Agenda 2030 — Sustainable Development Goals, we hope that persons with disabilities will have an increased access to sport and recreational activities to foster the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities in the society. On its path to making a society free of negative perceptions associated with women with disabilities, Nepal has made notable progress lately, particularly in numerous legal reforms including the new Constitution and Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act 2017 that guarantee protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
“It is the right of the people with disability to lead a normal life,” says Ms. Elisabeth von Capeller, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal. “It is important to raise awareness about the new Disability Rights Act and communicate success stories like this to help destroy the pre-judgement towards the people with disability.”
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first legally binding international instrument to address the rights of persons with disabilities and sport. Article 30 of the Convention addresses both mainstream and disability-specific sport and stipulates that states parties shall take appropriate measures to encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels.