WYA Recognizes World Down Syndrome Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The World Youth Alliance Recognizes World Down Syndrome Day

(NEW YORK CITY, MARCH 21, 2012) —
The United Nations General Assembly has declared Wednesday, March 21 World Down Syndrome Day. This marks the first time the UN has recognized a day in support of persons with Down Syndrome. As a global coalition of young people committed to affirming the dignity of all persons, the World Youth Alliance applauds the UN for recognizing this day.

UN Resolution 66/149 established World Down Syndrome Day under the theme of “Building our Future.” The Resolution calls for attention to the "inherent dignity, worth and valuable contributions of persons with intellectual disabilities as promoters of the well-being and diversity of their communities, and the importance of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices.”

World Down Syndrome Day also brings to light the human rights abuses that are directed at this population. The termination of unborn life as a result of detection of chromosomal problems represents a large-scale attack on persons with Down Syndrome. Such practices occur primarily in the developed world, where the resources and technologies exist to identify this condition in the womb.

In accordance with UN Resolution 66/149 recognizing the autonomy, independence and freedom of persons with Down Syndrome, the World Youth Alliance calls on UN Member States to oppose any practices that terminate the lives or curtail the freedom of these persons. These practices ignore the intrinsic dignity of the human person and are clear violations of human rights.

Given the correlation between poverty and disability, World Down Syndrome Day is an opportunity to affirm the importance of providing the health care and education necessary for the integral development of persons with disabilities. In a written intervention at the 50th Session of the UN Commission for Social Development in February, the World Youth Alliance called attention to the role of the state in promoting the equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for disabled persons. On World Down Syndrome Day, the World Youth Alliance will continue to affirm the dignity of all persons and will celebrate the unique contribution to society of persons with Down Syndrome.

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Read WYA’s statement at the UN 50th Commission on Social Development in 5 languages. Find out more about World Down Syndrome Day on the UN’s website.

For more information:
Elyssa Koren, WYA Foundation Director of Advocacy
Email: elyssa@wya.net – Phone: +1 212 585 0757 – Website: www.wya.net

About the organization:
The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy and culture and to building solidarity between young people of developing and developed nations. With approximately one million members from more than 160 countries, the World Youth Alliance is one of the biggest coalitions of young people worldwide. Regional offices are located in Brussels (Europe), Manila (Asia Pacific), Mexico City (Latin America), Nairobi (Africa), New York (North America and headquarters).