Down Syndrome Australia, 22 February 2010:
Down Syndrome Australia today called on Facebook to immediately take down a site which advocates using children with Down syndrome as target practice and offer all people with Down syndrome and their families a formal apology.
Spokesperson for Down Syndrome Australia, Kirsten Deane, said the site was offensive and incited hatred of people with Down syndrome.
“Unfortunately this site represents the extreme end of the kind of prejudice and discrimination people with Down syndrome experience every day,” Ms Deane said.
“These kinds of attitudes have no place in contemporary Australia.
“We believe Facebook has some responsibility in continuing to host a group that is promoting not just hatred but acts of violence.
“People will want to laugh this off as a bit of a joke but it is no laughing matter for people with Down syndrome and their families. Reinforcing prejudice and negative attitudes just makes their lives that much harder every day.”
Ms Deane said that while the site had its origins in Italy, the global nature of communications and the international nature of Facebook meant its impact was still felt locally.
“This affects every person with Down syndrome and their families. The thinking behind it is the reason people with Down syndrome so often find difficult to find a place in the community.”
For more information please contact Catherine McAlpine on 0419 530 524
ABC News has published an international report about the reaction to the site in Italy:
Outrage over anti-Down syndrome site