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Down’s Syndrome: UN tolerating gross violations of the right to life

The Vatican nuncio to the United Nations has challenged the UN on its disappointing record on the right to life of people Down’s Syndrome. 


Archbishop Bernadito Auza said: “Here are the United Nations there is much sincere talk and normally passionate action to fight against unjust discrimination. But as firm as these commitments are in principle, many delegations, UN agencies and active members of civil society tolerate gross violations of these commitments in practice.” 


He said that “Despite the commitments made in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights, including that of the right to life, by all persons with disabilities….so many members of the international community stand on the sidelines as the vast majority of those diagnosed with Trisomy 21 have their lives ended before they’re even born.”


Last week many people across the world celebrated World Down’s Syndrome Week, including here in Scotland where a debate on the subject took place in the Scottish Parliament. Johann Lamont MSP led the debate which celebrated the lives of people with disabilities and discussed some of the issues people with Down’s Syndrome face. Sadly nobody involved in the debate ventured to mention the most serious and pressing threat to people with Down’s Syndrome: abortion. Almost eliminated in Iceland and Denmark, and with 90% of babies with Down’s aborted in the UK, mere survival in the womb is becoming harder and harder. 


One MSP referred to Down’s Syndrome Scotland and its vision of creating a society which accepts people with the condition. This is an excellent point. We must accept people with Down’s Syndrome, yet we can never be truly accepting until we stop killing people with the condition in the womb. It is discriminatory and it is unjust.


It is nice to hear the Scottish Parliament playing host to a debate which seeks to raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome and which is eager to praise the pursuit of human rights for people with the condition. It is also good to hear the UN doing the same. But it is quite frankly disgusting that these institutions and many of their membership will, on the one hand, cry out for people with Down’s to be afforded basic human rights and then, on the other, they are quite prepared to allow these people to be killed in the womb. 


It is most welcoming to see the UN being told about the real problem facing people with Down’s Syndrome. The one nobody else seems to want to talk about. Thank you Archbishop Auza for your witness to the plight of those forgotten people with Down’s Syndrome who never even get a chance to enjoy the most basic, most fundamental right of all….the right to life. 


Read more at the Catholic Herald