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Social Protections for Women, Girls and All Those with Down Syndrome

On March 21, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Head of Delegation to the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), prepared opening remarks for a Side Event entitled “Social Protections for Women, Girls and All Those with Down Syndrome,” which the Holy See sponsored at the UN together with the Center for Family and Human Rights. His remarks were read by Msgr. Tomasz Grysa, Deputy Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission.

In the remarks, Archbishop Auza said social protections, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure are particular needs for women, girls and all those with Down Syndrome, where a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 21 is a death sentence in various countries that permit abortion. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities explicitly protects all human rights and fundamental freedoms of those with long-term intellectual impairments, and the General Assembly in 2011 made a commitment to ensuring that those with Down Syndrome receive the full and effective enjoyment of all those rights and freedoms; nevertheless some countries are trying to eliminate Down Syndrome by eliminating those with Down Syndrome, Archbishop Auza said, attacking the patient instead of the disease. He quoted Pope Francis by saying the alternative to this eugenic trend is love. He also mentioned statistics that he said seem to indicate that Down Syndrome children and their families are among the happiest groups of people alive, and the world is happier because of them. He urged all those present to work to build a society that includes and cherishes them and benefits from their presence and many gifts.

The statement can be found here.