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Commitment to disabled in Jalisco is deficient, rights chief observes

September 5, 2012

In spite of promises made when Guadalajara hosted the Parapan American Games last November, the Jalisco state government is failing its disabled citizens, a human rights advocate told a specialist forum this week.

Jointly organized by civic and state-government organizations, the forum on “The inclusion of people with disabilities, a commitment by all” took place at the Expo Guadalajara.

“We have a state law for care and inclusion of people with disabilities, which took effect on January 1, 2010,” said Felipe de Jesus Alvarez Cibrian, chairman of the State Human Rights Commission (CEDHJ) on Tuesday. “But it is unfortunate that most of the public institutions and municipal governments in Jalisco are still not aware of it.”

Alvarez made a number of demands to different government agencies, calling for new training programs to ease the implementation of the law; a promotional campaign to raise awareness of the contribution to society made by disabled people, greater disabled access in public transport; audio traffic lights to aid the visually impaired in crossing streets; more public signs to be written in braille; and appropriate infrastructure for people of short stature.

Campaigners had hoped that hosting the 2011 Parapan American Games would lead to greater awareness and inclusivity across Jalisco, but it seems to have had less impact than anticipated.

Only 25 of Jalisco’s 125 municipalities responded to a recent CEDHJ survey on treatment of disabled people, Alvarez said. Of these, 72 percent do not have staff who can communicate in sign language and 32 percent do not have exclusive parking spaces in preferred locations or easy access to facilities for disabled people.

Only 40 percent of municipalities provide financial support for disabled students, 16 percent have special school programs and just eight percent provide technical support. Meanwhile 64 percent of municipalities promote and support the implementation of sports and cultural activities for people with disabilities.

“I think there is a great culture of inclusion in the state. But there is no doubt that this is an ongoing challenge,” said Felipe Valdez De Anda, director general of the Family Development Agency (DIF) in Jalisco.

City plans expo for people with disabilities

The Expo Guadalajara is to host a forum for the Disabled and Elderly from December 14 to 16. Disabled artists, athletes and musicians will be able to show off their talents in this “unprecedented” event which organizers hope will draw some 5,000 attendees.

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