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World Down Syndrome Day

March 21, 2012 by staff 

World Down Syndrome Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the world to reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, deploring the stigma and discrimination they continue to face.
“For too long, persons with Down syndrome, including children, have been left on the margins of society,” said the Secretary-General in a message to mark the first World Down Syndrome Day. “In many countries, they continue to face stigma and discrimination as well as legal, attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in their communities.”

He noted that the discrimination can be as invidious as forced sterilization, and as subtle as segregation and isolation through both physical and social barriers.

Persons with Down syndrome are often denied the right to equal recognition before the law, as well as the right to vote or be elected.

“Intellectual impairments have also been seen as legitimate grounds for depriving persons with Down syndrome of their liberty, and for holding them in specialized institutions, sometimes for their entire lives,” said Mr. Ban.

The prejudice that children with Down syndrome obstruct the education of others has led some parents of children with intellectual disabilities to put their children in special schools or keep them at home.

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