- September 1, 2020

A message from the International Disability Alliance, on the killing of Nathaniel Julius in South Africa

2 September 2020


The International Disability Alliance mourns for Nathaniel Julius, who was senselessly shot and killed by police after not answering officers' questions. Nathaniel was a 16-year old young man with Down syndrome and was shot by police on Wednesday 26 August 2020 in Eldorado Park, South Africa. What the police did not take into account was that Nathaniel did not answer because of his disability.

We express our deepest condolences to Nathaniel’s family and his community. At the International Disability Alliance, we advocate for an inclusive global environment for everyone

The senseless killing of Nathaniel is yet another example of the lack of awareness and understanding among the public, but most worryingly, among forces which serve to protect its people. The loss of Nathaniel’s life in broad daylight is exemplary of the large-scale exclusion and marginalisation faced by persons with disabilities globally. In this century, why are we still advocating for the basic principles that protect the lives of persons with disabilities? Should we not be past this? Why does society continue to view the lives of persons with disabilities as worth less than those without disabilities?

As an Alliance that represents the 1 billion persons with disabilities worldwide, we call upon all law enforcement agencies to ensure that their members are properly equipped and skilled to communicate with all persons with disabilities. 

We demand for all Governments to recall the obligations they have made through ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to ensure that measures are put in place that protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

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