On March 16-17, the 7th conference “With Us, Not For Us” was held at the Holiday Inn hotel. It was organized by the Down Syndrome Association and with the financial support of the Open Society Foundation.
The executive director of the foundation, Keti Khutsishvili, opened the conference together with representatives of the diplomatic corps.
The main goal of this year’s conference is to bring the voice of parents to decision-makers in order to develop the right policies and take into account the needs of children with Down syndrome when creating programs.
This year’s message for International Down Syndrome Day is “With Us, Not For Us”, which implies a fundamental human rights-based approach to disability.
The main principle of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 3, UN CRPD) is based on individual autonomy and freedom of choice – “Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons”.
Despite the main principle of the convention, people with Down syndrome are often supported by society and the state in the wrong way – by controlling and doing everything for them, not with them.