UN Headquarters Hold a Discussion on the Social Inclusion of People with Down Syndrome


2018 03 15

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The 37th Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council held on 15 March at the UN Office in Geneva hosted a discussion to commemorate the World Down Syndrome Day. Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Jonas Ruškus, currently running for a second term in 2019-2022, emphasised the role of the Committee and the obligation of states to  implement the rights of people with disabilities in their countries, phase out discriminatory practices against, as well as institutions and laws detrimental to disabled people, and implement the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in order to achieve full inclusion of disabled people into society, including secondary schools and the labour market.

“People with Down syndrome have the right to study together with other children and work with their peers. It is the task of governments to strive towards making equality and non-discrimination a daily practice. The skills of people with Down syndrome and their potential contributions to society must be recognised”, emphasised Professor Jonas Ruškus.

During the event, jointly organised by Poland, the Philippines, Argentina, Lithuania, and Panama, as well as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, a discussion was held on how to ensure the non-discrimination of people with Down syndrome and their suitable integration into society. The discussion was attended by the Polish Ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva Zbigniew Czech, the American actor and Down syndrome activist John Franklin Stephens, the president of  the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, the British public figure and representative of the rights of people with Down syndrome Charlotte Fien, and Director General of the European Centre for Law and Justice Gregor Puppinck.

Jonas Ruškus is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and an eminent expert in the field of disability who takes an active part in both national and international projects designed to justify the necessity of ensuring the rights of disabled people and other vulnerable groups. His research activities are mostly focused on the studies in social work and education, social inclusion, and human rights.