Tbilisi: The Georgian Ombudsman Levan Ioseliani penned a public message on the International Day of Down Syndrome.“On March 21 the world celebrates the International Day of Down Syndrome. This day will once again remind the world that human rights are interrelated, interconnected and inseparable.”
In 2023, the message of the International Day of Down Syndrome – “With us and not for us,” refers to a human rights-based vision and aims at states to reject charity in a timely manner, treat people with Down syndrome as rights, treat them fairly and create equal opportunities for realization. Also, ensure their essential participation in all spheres.
Although the UN “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” has been in force in Georgia since 2014, there are still many challenges in practice, which impede the participation of people with Down syndrome in public life.
Challenges include: the timely implementation of the social model of limitation, social stigma and stereotypes, the medical sector’s use of ethical terminology, or correct communication approaches.
Also, the lack of early intervention and rehabilitation support measures, adequate access to health services, quality and uninterrupted inclusive education, equal employment opportunities in the open labor market, services tailored to individual needs and services promoting independent living.
The Ombudsman of Georgia urges the government to take action measures in order to prevent discrimination and policy-making process for people with Down syndrome, as well as for the full inclusion of organizations working on these issues.
Since 2012, according to the decision of the United Nations General Assembly, to raise public awareness about people with Down syndrome, certain measures have been carried out every 21st of March, with the active participation of the government and private sectors.