Second World Down Syndrome Day observed on 21 March

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World Down Syndrome Day was observed at United Nations headquarters in New York for the second time on Thursday.

The General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day with effect from 2012 to raise public awareness of the condition.

Penny Robertson, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Down Syndrome International (DSI), chaired a special meeting to mark the day focusing on the right to work, for people with Down Syndrome.

She said the aim of her organization is to ensure that the people with Down syndrome all over the world are able to participate in all aspects of life, including enjoying the right to work.

"DSI utilises the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a basis to provide training and support to down syndrome organizations, empowering them to advocate for the rights of people with down syndrome to receive basic human rights including medical care, education, employment and social acceptance and, perhaps, most importantly enabling people with down syndrome to advocate for themselves."

In his message to mark the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that in working life, stereotypes against persons with Down syndrome often mean they are denied vocational training opportunities and the right to work.

In the political and public spheres, he adds, persons with Down syndrome and other persons with intellectual disabilities are often deprived of their right to vote and fully participate in the democratic process.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'42"

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