Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Australian Parliament celebrates World Down Syndrome Day one day and Government denies child with Down syndrome a visa the next ...

Statement from Down Syndrome Australia, 23rd March 2015:

On Thursday 19th March parliamentarians from all sides came together in our national parliament to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. In a parliamentary first, the Senate passed a motion congratulating members of the Australian Down syndrome community.

It was therefore particularly disappointing that on the weekend when our community was celebrating the lives and achievements of people with Down syndrome that we learnt that the Immigration Department has denied a visa to Eliza Foneska.

“Many members of the Down syndrome and wider Australian community have let Down Syndrome Australia know how terribly disappointed they are at this latest decision.”

“At a time when we should be coming together to celebrate our shared achievements and inclusion, to have a decision like this made by the Immigration Department is terribly disappointing.”
“Australia rightly prides itself on being a free and open country, so to have a decision taken by a Government Department that essentially says the two parents are welcome to come to Australia but they must leave their young daughter behind sends a very cruel message to the rest of the world.”

Down Syndrome Australia will continue to push for changes to the Migration Act, so that it is no longer exempt from the Disability Discrimination Act. To exempt the decisions of the Immigration Department from the Disability Discrimination Act adds to the “low expectation environment” that people with disabilities live with within the Australian legal and legislative system.

“In addition to supporting and advocating for the Foneska family in whatever way we can, Down Syndrome Australia will continue to work towards removing this discrimination against people with Down syndrome.”

Further information/comment:
Ruth Webber
CEO Down Syndrome Australia
Ph: 0409 115 859

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