Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (1 April 1996)
Compare with the following Country Report(s): ILSMH
The officially recognized disability policy in Mexico is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government and in guidelines adopted by a national disability council.
Since the adoption of the rules the Government has taken action in order to convey the message of full participation. The Mexican Social Security Institute conducted a television campaign in 1995 to promote respect and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. As part of that campaign, 30-second promotional spots in prime time were broadcast on the commercial television channel with the largest number of viewers in the country. The weekly 30-minute programme entitled "Disability for a World without Barriers" was broadcast on the same channel. The first International Congress, entitled "Disability in the Year 2000", was held under the slogan "Make Room: The World is also Ours". On various commercial radio stations, the Department of Communications and Transport conducts, national awareness campaigns for drivers, on the topics of accident prevention and disability. The Consumer Defence Advocate carries out television and radio campaigns dealing with disability.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The Political Constitution of Mexico provides specific guarantees and rights with regard to equal opportunities and the establishment of conditions for individual, family and community development. The Political Constitution for example, establishes the right to free, compulsory and secular basic education; the right to health protection; the right to equality between men and women; the right to justice and work; the right for families to decent housing; and the protection of minors. Regulatory acts forming a complex system of norms have been promulgated; nonetheless, there is still a gap between law and reality, and the system must be constantly updated and adjusted. In recent years, the specific legal framework guaranteeing respect for and the dignity of persons with disabilities has been established and altered by amending discriminatory articles of the Civil Code as much as the General Act on Education regarding the inclusion of minors in the regular school system, as well as other federal acts on specific issues relating to persons with disabilities, such as the Act on the Encouragement and promotion of Sport, the Consumer Protection Act, the General Act on Human Settlements, the Customs Act and the Act on Procurement and Public Works. In addition, local acts on social integration have been promulgated in the Federal District and in 10 states, and similar acts are being promulgated in eight other states. The judicial mechanisms adopted in order to protect the rights of persons with disabilities include: due process (legal remedy through the courts) and recourse procedure by a special agency dealing with anti-discrimination issues. The Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic has begun to establish agencies of the Federal Prosecutor's Office specialising in persons with mental disabilities; to date, two agencies have been established. The Office of the Government Procurator of the Federal District operates three agencies of the Federal Prosecutor's Office, specialising in the problems of minors, persons with disabilities and kidnapping.
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 medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, and participation in decisions affecting them.
There are several new acts which have been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.
There are laws and regulations ensuring accessibility of the build environment.
These laws and regulations establish national design standards requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, land, sea and air 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 in the build environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, improving accessibility in housing, providing financial incentives/support for accessibility measures in housing, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired. Special transport is available for medical treatment, education, work and recreational purposes. A number of health, social welfare, education and work centres provide free transport to persons with disabilities enabling them to receive the services to which they are entitled. In addition, in a number of Mexican towns, there are agreements with transport enterprises to charge special prices for their services to persons with disabilities. Some public transport enterprises operating as concessions have adapted vehicles in order to facilitate for persons with a disability their use. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, geographical and climatic factors and lack of enforcement mechanism. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers. However, information on disabilities is being incorporated into training programmes for architects and other related professions.
- An official Mexican regulation establishes the architectural requirements for providing persons with disabilities with access to medical establishments under the National Health System and facilitating their mobility during their stay.
- Support for the Physically Disabled, Blind and Mute, a document prepared by the Mexican Social Security Institute, establishes legal criteria and architectural and engineering guidelines for adapting space in order to make it accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Design criteria. Architectural Elements to Assist Persons with Disabilities, prepared by the Insurance and Social Services Institute for State workers, a document containing regulations on surface area, operation, environment control, equipment, signs and various architectural details of the Institute.
- Adaptation of INFONAVIT Housing for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, a document prepared by the Institute of the National Fund for Worker Housing, which sets the standards for such housing.
- There are also various regulations on this subject in various states and towns of Mexico.
Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status. It is not used as the first language in education of deaf people nor recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible for persons with disabilities. The National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA) promotes the use of works in Braille and recorded books in library collections. Various museums are also taking measures to facilitate the access of persons with handicaps. In its exhibitions, the National Museum of Art makes materials in Braille and large print and paintings in relief available to the sight-impaired. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille and easy readers for persons with mental disabilities.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization where all organizations of persons with disabilities are represented. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making 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, regional and local level. The Government gives organizational/logistic support to existing or new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, legislature, judicial authorities, political parties and to a great 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, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
There is a national co-ordinating committee reporting to the President of the Republic. The committee includes representatives of many Ministries, of organizations of Persons with Disabilities, of NGOs and from the private sector. The Government expects the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks such as co-ordination of the activities carried out by its members at all three levels of Government, and follow-up of the activities and evaluation of the results. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has led to improved co-ordination of measures/programmes 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 co-ordination of public awareness. The National Programme for the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities and their inclusion in the Development Process is the result of the work carried out by the National Co-ordination Commission. On the basis of various analyses, the Commission drafted proposals by adapting the recommendations contained in the Standard Rules, for implementation in response to the interests of groups of persons with disabilities.
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