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Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles

Ecuador

Download 'Government Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (440 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (26 February 1996)
General policy

The officially recognized disability policy in Ecuador is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government, and in guidelines adopted by a national disability council. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: prevention, rehabilitation, individual support, accessibility measures, anti-discrimination law.

Since the adoption of the Standard Rules the Government has conveyed the message of full participation through different publications and information campaigns.

Legislation

The rights of persons with disabilities are protected both by special and general legislation. The judicial mechanism adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is due process (legal remedy through courts), a Governmental body (administrative) also being available for the same purpose.

The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medional design standards requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, means of transportation and housing are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by a national authority and local Governments. The following measures have been promoted by the Government in order to facilitate accessibility: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, ensuring access to public places, and provision of specially adapted motor vehicles. Special transports exist both at the national and municipal level, available for the purpose of education and work. Special transport is not offered for medical treatment and recreational purpose. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: economic/budgetary factors, geographical and climatic factors, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is no disability awareness component is not incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.

Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status. It is neither used as the first language in education of deaf people, nor recognized as the main means of communication between deaf people and others. There are no Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities. The following services are provided to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation being available only for major events.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization of organizations of persons with disabilities where the federations of the blind, and the deaf, the physically and intellectually disabled are represented. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy development and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. The Government gives financial and organizational/logistic support to organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, legislature, judiciary, political parties but to some extent in NGOs. The organizations have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures concerning the lives of persons with disabilities, and contribute to public awareness. The organizations do not, however, provide services, or promote/organize income generating activities.

Co-ordination of work

The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Prime Minister's office. The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs, Employment, Education, Culture, representatives from the organizations of persons with disabilities, from the NGOs, and from the National Institute of Children and Family. The Government expects the committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks such as planning, co-ordinating actions in the private as well as in the public sector. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes etc., in the disability field, improved legislation, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more accurate planning, more effective use of resources, and improved promotion of public awareness.

The Rules have provided a frame of reference in formulating the policy.


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