Hear from H.E Joanna Wronecka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the UN:

"Since 2006, March 21st each year marks the World Down Syndrome Day. The date alludes to the uniqueness of the 21st chromosome, which triplication causes the Down syndrome, but most of all honors and appreciates persons with Down Syndrome and their families. It also provides a unique opportunity to promote the rights of persons with Down Syndrome.

Poland has been the co-organiser of the UN observance of the World Down Syndrome Day since its proclamation. We regret that the current global health crisis didn’t allow us to commemorate the day the same way we used to do in the past years. This however only makes our commitment to the promotion and protection of persons with intellectual disabilities stronger.

In Poland we believe that societies benefit greatly from the inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities. People with Down syndrome are contributing to their communities – many are attending post-secondary institutions, they are active on labor market and have their own families. When given opportunities to succeed, people with Down syndrome are positively adding to community’s diversity, and to society at large.

Today we focus our discussions on the rights of persons with Down Syndrom to make autonomous decision. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) supports effective and meaningful participation as a core human right. Yet, too often fear and ignorance do not let us to see people with Down Syndrome as agents of their own life. Supporting and assisting persons with disabilities in making their choices and their own decisions can truly empower them. It is the measure of our commitment to the principles of human rights.

I am pleased that despite the different character of this year’s commemorations, we will be able to hear from the self-advocates who will speak of the importance of making their own decisions.

Let me conclude by reiterating that Poland will continue its efforts to further promote and protect human rights of all, in particular those with disabilities, as we believe that an inclusive environment will benefit us all. Finally, in this time of pandemic, please let us take care of each other and do not forget about those most in need."

Speaker biography

Prior to Ms Wronecka’s appointment to Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations, Ms. Wronecka was Undersecretary of State for Development Cooperation in her country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs beginning in 2015, responsible for Africa, the Middle East and Human Rights. From 2011 to 2015, she was Ambassador and Head of the European Union delegation to Jordan. She was Ambassador to Morocco from 2005 to 2010.

Between 2003 and 2005, Ms. Wronecka served as Director and Ambassador in the Secretariat of the Foreign Ministry, having been Ambassador to Egypt from 1999 to 2003. She was previously Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Africa and Middle East Department, from 1998 to 1999. From 1994 to 1998, she held a number of positions in the United Nations System Department within the Ministry, which she joined after having held different positions in academia.

Ms. Wronecka earned a doctorate in humanities from the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Oriental Studies, and holds a master’s degree in Arabic studies, also from the University of Warsaw.

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