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World Autism Awareness Day. Speech by the Ombudsman for Human Rights, Marcin Wiącek

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The second day of April is World Autism Awareness Day. – Autism is not a disease, but a different path of development. Autism is diverse. These are people starting work, finishing their studies, but they are also non-verbal people who require constant, everyday support – said the Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek in a recording posted on social media.

– April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. It was established by the United Nations to emphasize the need to improve the quality of life of people on the autism spectrum so that they can enjoy a full life and feel an important part of society. Autism is not a disease, but a different path of development. Autism is diverse. These are people taking up work, finishing their studies, but they are also non-verbal people who require constant, everyday support – said the Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The support system for children with autism only looks good on paper”

The Commissioner for Human Rights mentioned the phenomenon of violence against people on the autism spectrum. – People on the autism spectrum are among the groups most exposed to discrimination, violence and exclusion. We do not know the actual scale of this violence, because many of its cases are not reported to law enforcement. Self-advocates drew my attention to the level of violence in the school environment, support centers or assisted housing, and the possibility of reporting these difficulties and providing support is extremely important – he said.

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Ombudsman: react to violence, report it, stand on the side of the weak

Marcin Wiącek recalled the obligations of the state. – The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires States to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures possible to protect the rights of persons with disabilities from all attempts at exploitation, violence and abuse. Both at home and outside, he said.

Marcin WiącekLeszek Szymanski/PAP

– Systemic actions are needed, as well as raising the knowledge and competence of people responsible for the safety of people on the autism spectrum at every stage – educators, social workers, police officers, prosecutors and judges. It is very important to support all vulnerable people. If you see violence, do not pass by indifferently. React, report, stand on the side of the weaker. Let’s keep our eyes open not only on April 2nd, but throughout the year, he added.

Office of the Human rights

Main photo source: Leszek Szymanski/PAP



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