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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN chief calls for unity to realise full rights of persons with autism

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, April 1, 2024

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has called for unity to realise the full rights of persons living with autism, calling for an inclusive and accessible world for all.

Guterres made the call in his message to mark World Autism Awareness Day, globally, celebrated on April 2.

The annual commemoration on April 2 is a moment to recognise and celebrate the important contributions of autistic people in every country and community.

“But around the world, they continue to confront barriers to their fundamental rights to education, employment and social inclusion — as called for by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.

The UN chief urged governments to invest in stronger community support systems, inclusive education and training programmes, and accessible and technology-based solutions to enable persons with autism to enjoy the same rights as others.

“Today and every day, let’s unite to realise their rights, and ensure an inclusive and accessible world for all,” he said.

Approximately one in 100 children has autism, which constitutes a diverse group of conditions related to development of the brain, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

World Autism Awareness Day has been celebrated since 2007, following its proclamation by the UN General Assembly.

This year’s observance from UN Headquarters in New York will for the first time seek to provide a truly global overview from the perspective of autistic people representing six regions: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin American and the Caribbean, North America and Oceania.

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