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World Autism Awareness Day 2014

World Autism Awareness Day 2014

Florence Bauer – UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Talking Points


Excellences, ladies and gentlemen


I would like to greet Minister Masic, Minister Camber and to thank NGO “Buducnost” who is organizing this event as well as all organizations who are contributing to a more inclusive society and are partnering around the campaign It’s About Ability.

One of the main initial challenges for the inclusion into society of Children with disabilities is their invisibility. Societies tend to hide and isolate them instead of recognizing their rights and their abilities

Over the least four years I have been involved in all kind of different programmes to improve the situation of Children with disabilities and I had many several opportunities to address different audiences to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of children with disabilities including children from the autism spectrum.

When I look back I can see some initial positive trends with children with disabilities being starting to be more visible:

o   For example today in several magazines there are interviews of parents of children with autism spectrum who are telling their stories

o   Tonight there will be a theater play with c with and without disabilities

o   The Special Olympics gathered 750 chdilren last summer which is 3 times more than 2 years ago

o   Dzeko has been meeting children with disabilities and images have been placed on billboards throughout the country

o   I have seen Minister Camber giving an excellent presentation on children with disabilities

In parallel:

o   BiH is one of the 128 countries who ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

o   laws and by laws have been developed to enhance protection of Children with disabilities and promote inclusive education

o   as UNICEF we have been supporting several day care centers for Children with disabilities throughout the country together with the EU

o   we have been supporting inclusion of Children with disabilities into education, training professionals from the education, health, social welfare system to identify developmental delays and disabilities, promoting parenting education

o   with the EU and USAID and many partners we have been promoting the campaign It’s About Ability which is about changing perception on Children with disabilities

However so many challenges persist:

o   children with disabilities are still not visible enough

o   children with disabilities are too often placed in institutions with chdilren without parental care: 67% of children in institutions are children with disabilities

o   there are not enough day care centers, and services are insufficient to help families to take care of their children,

o   there are wide discrepancies between the social protection afforded to persons with disabilities resulting from an accident, illness or existing since birth and disabled war veterans, and

o   there is a high level of discrimination towards Children with disabilities with: 45% of people do not want their son or daughter to have a Children with disabilities as his  her best friend


As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this morning the world autism awareness day is about more than generating understanding, it is a call to action which urges government, civil society, social services, private sector, media and society in general to contribute to a more inclusive world.


I therefore want to thank and express my deep appreciation to all partners, parents and children who are involved in this daily battle and encourage all to double our efforts for a more inclusive world.


"World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. I urge all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the World Autism Awareness Day 2014




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