Ban Ki-moon condemns stigmatisation of persons with Down Syndrome
Mr Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, has urged relatives of persons with disability to recognise the collective responsibility of such people with special needs in order for them to make valuable contributions to the shared future of the world.
The role of families is central to supporting persons with Down syndrome by promoting their equal status in society and empowering them to be their own advocates, he said in a statement ahead of the celebration of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, 2015.
Mr Ban said this year’s World Down Syndrome Day came as the international community was striving to create a universal, and transformative agenda for sustainable development.
He said the links between disability, human rights and development span a wide spectrum of development issues relating to economic, social and environmental factors.
“Every year on this observance, we reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights.
“This year, we must make every effort to ensure that the new sustainable development goals address equality and help build a life of dignity for all, including people with Down syndrome and other persons with disabilities”.
Mr Ban noted that persons with down syndrome faced stigmatisation, abuse and lack of support and too often, their challenges begun early in life when they were excluded from quality education systems.
The Secretary General said adequate access to health care, early intervention programmes and inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, were vital to the growth and development of individuals with Down syndrome.
“We must promote inclusive policies and raise awareness about social justice for people with Down syndrome, and do everything possible to enable them to live where they want and with whom, to form their own families, to administer their own assets and to pursue their own happiness”.
He applauded all those who champion the rights and lives of persons with disabilities, and urged others to support them.
Mr Ban called on everyone to use this World Down Syndrome Day to advocate for a more socially just and inclusive world.