By David Gold

sir philip_craven_18-11-11November 12 - Guadalajara, the host of this week's 2011 Parapan American Games in Mexico, today held a symposium on disability rights organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC).

The event took place at the city's Presidente Hotel ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Games, and focused on the benefits of recognising the rights of people with a disability to participate equally in sport.

A panel of five people attended, which included IPC President Sir Philip Craven (pictured), and they reaffirmed their support for the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities.

Craven was joined by Octavio Londoño, President of APC, National Council of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE) director general Bernardo de la Garza, American Council of Sport (CADE) President Jairo Clopatofsky, and Mario Vázquez Raña, President of both the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

"The number of people getting involved in parasport is growing all the time and this is instrumental in changing perceptions, reducing stigma and discrimination often associated with disability," said Sir Philip.

"More athletes than ever before are taking part in this year's Parapan American Games and not only will widespread coverage of the Games help change perceptions, I also believe it will empower those with an impairment to recognise their own potential and become advocates for change."

The 2011 Parapan American Games take place between November 13 and 20, with 1,500 athletes from 23 countries taking part in the event.

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