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.
The estimated incidence of Down Syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. Each year approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder.
Adequate access to health care, to early intervention programmes and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.
However, in his message for the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns that "persons with Down syndrome often face stigma and segregation, physical and psychological abuse, and lack of equal opportunities. A vicious circle of exclusion can begin early in life as many children with Down syndrome are denied access to mainstream education – or any education at all."
He goes on to remind us that "The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reaffirms that such persons, including those with Down syndrome, are entitled to human rights on an equal basis with others." Outlining plans for High-level Meeting at the General Assembly in September on Disability and Development.
In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year, and 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.
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