Public Defender’s Statement on World Down Syndrome Day

The UN General Assembly declared March 21 as the WorldDown Syndrome Day in 2011. The main purpose of celebrating this day is to raise public awareness of people with Down syndrome.

The world message of 2020 is "We Decide", which emphasizes that all people with Down syndrome should have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives.

Despite some positive steps taken in Georgia, people with Down syndrome still face obstacles in the process of properly exercising their rights. It is a challenge in the country to develop services/programmes based on statistics, studies and individual needs to provide equal opportunities. Carrying out early intervention measures tailored to children with Down syndrome, as well as implementation of affordable and accessible rehabilitation services for all target persons, remains problematic.

It is a challenge to provide high quality and continuous inclusive preschool, general, vocational and higher education for people with Down syndrome and to mobilize relevant material and human resources for this purpose. Access to social and health care services, the widespread stigma and stereotypical attitudes, also remain to be problematic. Consequently, it is essential to respect the rights and dignity of people with Down syndrome and to combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful customs.

The Public Defender calls on the State to take consistent and result-oriented steps to strengthen people with Down syndrome/their support network, facilitate their comprehensive and effective participation in the decision-making process, implement services based on their individual needs and aimed at facilitating their independent living, deliver quality inclusive education, employ persons with Down syndrome and improve access to social and health care services.

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