Cultural, Sports and Leisure Activities for Persons with Disabilities

Via: Source – International Online Resource Centre on Disability and Inclusion

Cultural, sports and leisure (CSL) activities are very important for achieving the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in all communities around the world. CSL can also include sports and adapted physical activities which are non-competitive and which promote movement and well-being.

Of course activities will vary from one context to another, but in all cases, CSL can greatly facilitate social cohesion within communities. When people with disabilities are able to participate fully in CSL activities this can greatly improve self-confidence, a sense of belonging and empowerment, and physical and psychological well-being. Inclusive CSL also benefits society at large through the unique expression of disability arts and culture such as street theatre, wheelchair dancing, poetry and short stories about disability. Disability arts and culture activities often not only express the history of the oppression of people with disabilities but also offer suggestions on how society can move forward.

The participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport is supported by Article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This key list presents tools that promote the inclusion and expression of people with disabilities through CSL activities, and highlights specific sports and adapted physical activities which are popular in many parts of the world.

Related Resources

Title: Count me in: a guide to inclusive physical activity, sport and leisure for children with a disability (2006)
Mike Van Ed Lent
Summary: This guide explores the inclusion of children with disability into mainstream physical activity, sports and leisure
Download free PDF:

Title: Flourishing through leisure model : an ecological extension of the leisure and well-being model
Lynn Anderson, Linda Heyne
Summary: This resource provides handouts highlighting theories, approaches, strategies and activities related to leisure and well-being
Download free PDF:

Title: Playgrounds for all children
Author: David Werner
Summary: This chapter presents information about how to involve local people in building low-cost rehabilitation playgrounds that should be built for use by all children, both disabled and non-disabled. Examples of playgrounds and equipment are provided
Download free PDF:

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Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Cultural Life: UN CRPD

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations. The Convention entered into force in May 2008.

The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects”  of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2006, making it  the fastest negotiated human rights treaty.

Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:

a) Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;

b) Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;

c) Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.

2. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.

3. States Parties shall take all appropriate steps, in accordance with international law, to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.

4. Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.

5. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:

a) To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;

b) To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training and resources;

c) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;

d) To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system.

Source: UN Org

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