Disabled People Get New Legal Protection
Lawmakers have passed a United Nations treaty that protects rights of people with disabilities.
The treaty, which Costa Rica signed in March 2007, obliges the state to promote rights of “people with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments.”
These include blindness, deafness and physical or developmental problems. Under the treaty, Costa Rica must ensure equal access to education, health care, employment and transportation to people with disabilities. The government must promote the use of Braille and sign language and ensure public buildings and roads are accessible.
Oscar López, a legally blind lawmaker, said enforcing the treaty will be a challenge. “Costa Rica is an architectural obstacle course for people with disabilities,” said López, a member of the Accessibility Without Exclusion Party (PASE).
Many buildings are inaccessible, employers discriminate, and rehabilitation centers are concentrated in the Central Valley, he said.
“If someone gets on the bus with a seeing eye-dog, he has trouble with the driver.
If someone in a wheelchair is waiting for a taxi, the taxi doesn’t stop,” said López, who has a car, driver and walking companion.
About 10 percent of the world’s population is now living with a disability, according to the U.N.’s Web site. Some 130 countries have signed the treaty.
Costa Rica holds the vice presidency on a U.N. committee that oversees the treaty. Until lawmakers ratified it this month, Costa Rica was in danger of losing that spot, said Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno.
The treaty will go into effect here once it is signed by President Oscar Arias and published in La Gaceta, the official government newspaper.
Costa Rica then has six months to form a committee to enforce the implementation.
You may be interested
Costa Rica announces cuts in public spending in the face of pandemic crisisAFP and The Tico Times - July 13, 2020
The President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, announced Sunday a sharp cut in public spending as part of the actions…
Alleged migrant smugglers arrested in Costa RicaAFP - July 13, 2020
Authorities in Costa Rica detained five citizens suspected of human trafficking in the south of the country, the Ministry of…