Uruguay Hosts Surf Festival for Persons With Disabilities

Uruguay hosted its second-annual “Inclusive Surf Festival” on Tuesday, a government-funded sporting event that brings attention to the rights of people with disabilities.

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For the second year in a row, the festival raised thousands of dollars and gathered disability rights activists from across the country to support increased accessibility to beaches. The festival was held at Montevideo’s famous Brava Beach.

“There is a lack of accessible architecture on the entire coast, so these activities also highlight that need, and also bring together people who are betting on improving accessibility,” festival organizer Ana Ortiz told EFE.

“The motto is ‘surfing as one’: volunteers, participants, teachers, lifeguards…we are all riding on the same wave, helping everyone enjoy the sport in every moment.”

Ortiz, a lifeguard and physical education teacher, co-organizes the festival alongside the government with her “Dreaming About Waves” organization. Participating government institutions include Uruguay’s National Sports Secretariat, the National Guardian Association, the Department of Physical Education, and the Department of Sports and Recreation.

Over 50 people participated in this year’s festival.

Uruguay is one of the 166 States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner reports.

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Uruguay’s ruling Broad Front party has been at the center of numerous progressive initiatives since taking power in 2004. These include legalization of marijuana, free abortions for women, and legalized marriage for members of the LGBTQ community.

Earlier this month, the government sided with women who filed formal domestic violence complaints against police officers with the government. The interior ministry, led by Broad Front party members, opened a nationwide investigation on the case, resulting in 500 policemen having their weapons confiscated following sentences over domestic violence against their partners and/or children.

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