Throughout its history, the United Nations family has celebrated diversity and promoted the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, including learning differences and developmental disabilities.
In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all.
Its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
It is a vital tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.
The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.
Autism is mainly characterized by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.
The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.
The stigmatization and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policy-makers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.
“Persons with autism have the right to self-determination, independence, and autonomy, as well as the right to education and employment on an equal basis with others,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message this year.
“Universal human rights, including the rights of persons with disabilities, must not be infringed upon in the time of a pandemic,” he reminded governments around the world, adding that they have a responsibility to ensure that their response to the pandemic includes persons with autism.
“On World Autism Awareness Day, let us stand together, support each other and show solidarity with persons with autism,” said Guterres. - RVA News