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World Down Syndrome Day 2016

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World Down Syndrome Day 2016 may be remembered for the controversy generated by awareness campaigns that have sparked animated discussion over the manner in which people with Down syndrome are portrayed in society, and how best to go about supporting communities to welcome, value, and include individuals with Down syndrome. At LiveWorkPlay we know that this is to be the benefit of all concerned, as we are privileged to see firsthand how individuals with Down syndrome contribute to neighbourhoods, workplaces, sports, recreation, and indeed all social environments and venues to the betterment of society.

Rather then delving directly into the controversy (you can read Dave Hingsburger’s blog on “How Do You See Me” if you are interested in learning more) we would like to take this opportunity to revisit the United Nations resolution (see below) that formally established World Down Syndrome Day on December 19, 2011. Through this resolution we see the essence of the LiveWorkPlay perspective, which is reflected in our own governing documents.

Paraphrasing the comments of the UN Secretary General, people with Down syndrome belong in this world. They are agents of change who can drive progress across society – and their voices must be heard as we strive to build healthy communities through the welcoming of diversity and the experience and celebration of inclusion for all.

unResolution adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2011

[on the report of the Third Committee (A/66/462/Add.1)]

66/149.    World Down Syndrome Day

The General Assembly,

Recalling the 2005 World Summit Outcome[1] and the United Nations Millennium Declaration,[2] as well as the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields,

Recalling also the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,[3] according to which persons with disabilities should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions that ensure dignity, promote self‑reliance and facilitate the person’s active participation in the community and the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other persons, and by which States parties undertake to adopt immediate, effective and appropriate measures to raise awareness throughout society regarding persons with disabilities,

Affirming that ensuring and promoting the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities is critical to achieving internationally agreed development goals,

Aware that Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics or health,

Recalling that adequate access to health care, to early intervention programs and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual,

Recognizing 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,

  1. Decides to designate 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day, to be observed every year beginning in 2012;
  2. Invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non‑governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome;
  3. Encourages Member States to take measures to raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with Down syndrome;
  4. Requests the Secretary‑General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and United Nations organizations.

89th plenary meeting
19 December 2011

[1] See resolution 60/1.

[2] See resolution 55/2.

[3] United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2515, No. 44910.

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