“Persons with Down syndrome: Towards better practices in fighting discrimination and favoring inclusion”

The Republic of Poland, the Republic of the Philippines, the Argentine Republic, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Panama and the Sovereign Order of Malta in Geneva (and additional key Co-Sponsors TBD), together with the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, are organizing a high level event, in conjunction with the 37th session of the UN Human Right Council and World Down Syndrome Day on the following theme: “Persons with Down syndrome: Towards better practices in fighting discrimination and favoring inclusion”.

Date and Venue : The event will take place on Thursday 15 March 2018, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 pm. Room IX (building A).

Organizers : Republic of Poland, Republic of the Philippines, Argentine Republic, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Panama, Sovereign Order of Malta in Geneva, Jérôme Lejeune Foundation

UN Secretary-General marked World Down Syndrome Day last year with an empowering message, including the words ‘Persons with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, are more than persons in need of assistance; they are agents of change who can drive progress across society – and their voices must be heard as we strive to reach the Sustainable Development Goals’.
The goal of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, a recognised public interest organisation, is to continue the work to which Professor Jérôme Lejeune, discoverer of Down syndrome, devoted his life: Research, Care, and Advocacy. The goal of the Foundation is to answer UN Secretary-General’s call, in giving persons with Down syndrome a platform to be heard by the international community.
A platform not only to celebrate their potential, achievements, and power, but also to hear their challenges first-hand. Sadly, members of our human family with Down syndrome continue to face discrimination and exclusion before as well as after birth. We should be careful in not letting prenatal exclusion become the solution to Down syndrome. A concern, especially when discussing screening and diagnostic test results, in not giving a biased and outdated view of the value and life lived with Down syndrome.

While society has taken significant and concrete steps since the adoption of the CRPD in 2006 to respect and promote the rights of all persons with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, even more persons with Down syndrome will participate actively in society.
Thankfully, by adopting the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has promised to leave no one behind. This coming World Down Syndrome Day, let’s reaffirm loud and clear that we are committed to ensuring equal enjoyment of human rights and freedoms for persons with Down syndrome.
Let’s celebrate our loved ones. Let’s listen to their testimonies. They should be the agents of change. They will better equip us to take further concrete steps in our broader efforts to foster an environment which respects a life of dignity for all.

 

Objectives of the side event

In holding this side event, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of the Philippines, the Argentine Republic, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Panama, the Sovereign Order of Malta in Geneva (and additional key Co-Sponsors TBD), and the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation will seek to:

  1. Inform on the reality of living with Down syndrome through first hand witness statements from persons with Down syndrome, their families.
  2. Discuss the challenges that persons with Down syndrome, their families, as well as pregnant mothers continue to face.
  3. Explore practical measures that can be taken to address these struggles in a broader effort to foster a society which respects a life of dignity for all.
  4. Raise awareness on the negative perception of persons with Down syndrome fueled by prenatal screening tests and discuss its implications on the Down syndrome community and society as a whole.
  5. Explore how the CRPD can be drawn on and used to assist governments, UN agencies, civil society, and the medical profession in ensuring the promotion and respect of the rights of all persons with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome.6) Last but not least, show our loved ones with Down syndrome that we celebrate, value and thank them for everything they bring to society.

The Republic of Poland, the Republic of the Philippines, the Argentine Republic, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Panama, the Sovereign Order of Malta in Geneva (and additional key Co-Sponsors TBD), and the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation strongly encourage the diplomatic community, UN experts and staff, National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations, and health communities to attend this timely side event.

Proposed Programme :
Refreshments to be served both before and after the side event.

 

Belief, Expert to the Council of Europe.
Q&A Session (30 mins)
Closing Remarks from the Moderator (4 mins)
Total Time: 90 mins

Interpretation
Simultaneous interpretation will be available in English and French.