Tag Archives: Advocacy Centre on the Council of Europe Standards (ACCESS)

On 20 October the Yerevan-Etchmiadzin Marathon for persons with disabilities took place. 122 participants (including 7 children and 44 girls and women) started the race in the morning at Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall and ran all the way to Etchmiadzin, where they were hosted by Father Mkrtich Karapetyan of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Head of the EU delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski met and greeted all participants with disabilities on the start line of the marathon.

DSC_7280To demonstrate the abilities and the inexhaustible energy of persons with disabilities, the Armenian Association for the Disabled, “Pyunic”, together with international partner the Advocacy Centre on the Council of Europe Standards (ACCESS) from Strasbourg, France, organised a marathon as part of the “Promoting the Social Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Building the Capacities of Armenian Civil Society Organisations to Engage with Council of Europe Monitoring Mechanisms” project. This project is funded by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
A marathon for persons with disabilities was first held in Armenia in 1992; however, due to shortage of funds this was the first race since 2010. This new two-year project, launched in  September to promote the protection of social rights of persons with disabilities living in Armenia, has helped to restore this tradition.

DSC_7305EU Ambassador Świtalski spoke about the potential impact of the marathon: ‘So many participants of different ages and gender, including many people from the marzes, show that this is a very important event. This marathon is taking place after a long break, so we are happy that we can contribute to the restoration of this beautiful tradition. I know that Armenia is very active in promoting paralympic sports; this is a chance to further allow athletes to develop skills and potential, and also get new people active in the paralympic movement. But this marathon is more than simply about sport – it is about raising awareness about persons with disabilities in Armenia. It is crucial to make society aware and overcome stereotypes. We are all equal and all deserve to have a legitimate place in our societies. This is our message.’