2013 Statement


Remarks by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the World Down Syndrome Day Conference
21 March 2013


Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,


It is a great honor to make a statement before you at today’s event in recognition of the World Down Syndrome Day.  I particularly extend my gratefulness to “Down Syndrome International” for taking the lead in organizing this event.  I would also like to express my appreciation for the efforts by persons with Down syndrome and their families, civil society, governments and the organizations of the United Nations system, who have all contributed to raise awareness about Down syndrome and to promote human rights of persons with the syndrome.


The United Nations has long acted for the realization of all the human rights including the Right to Work and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities.  Five years ago, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, and has by now garnered 129 States Parties.  The High-level Meeting on Disability and Development will be held this September.  As we can see, momentum toward the rights of persons with disabilities has been increasing in the United Nations.


These efforts have been conducted with the support of civil society.  The Government of Japan, for its part, has worked closely with persons with disabilities and the civil society organizations representing them.  It is a great pleasure to welcome two Japanese speakers today to share with us their own experiences and views.


In Japan, the event of the World Down Syndrome Day, “Step Forward Together”, was held by Japan Down syndrome Society just yesterday and last year.  Japanese ministries such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare supported the event to advance the understanding of Down syndrome.


The theme of this year’s conference is the “Right to Work”, which is one of the fundamental human rights.  Work by persons with Down syndrome helps to improve and maintain their livelihoods.  Their work promotes their participation in the society and their development. 


Japan has promoted employment of persons with disabilities through such means as mandating legal employment rates and raising awareness.  Education for employment is also an essential component.  Internationally, Japan has supported the “Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability” in Bangkok since its launch in 2002.  The center has contributed immensely to education and human resource development for the empowerment of persons with disabilities in the region.


We expect today’s event to contribute to further raising awareness of Down syndrome and to serve as a forum to share good practices and views among various countries. 


Thank you very much.