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New law would tackle discrimination in Jalisco

October 6, 2013

A National Action Party (PAN) deputy has introduced a bill to the State Congress in a bid to combat discrimination in Jalisco, one of the few states yet to have passed any such legislation.

Although the State Human Rights Commission (CEDHJ) has only received 22 complaints so far this year, Jalisco is one of the states with the most discrimination in Mexico, according to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred).

“This is because the population does not identify discriminatory acts, there is no possibility of making a complaint,” Conapred Director Ricardo Bucio Mujica said this week.

In a bid to rectify this, PAN Deputy Victor Sanchez Orozco is pushing for a new law that would identify and punish any discriminatory acts in Jalisco.

Under the proposed legislation, it would be illegal for any school or business to discriminate against pupils or employees in terms of access to education, employment opportunities or unequal pay. Public institutions would be prohibited from withholding medical attention or failing to enforce justice, while the right to free movement in public spaces would be legally guaranteed.

The law would outlaw the incitement of hatred and punish those who limit freedom of expression, thought or religion. The bill also calls for the creation of a State Council to Prevent Discrimination, a state-funded but decentralized and autonomous public agency.

Mexico already has a Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, which defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction based on ethnic or national origin, sex, age, size, disability, social or economic status, health status, pregnancy, language, religion, opinion, sexual orientation, marital status or anything else that has the effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition or exercising of rights and equality of opportunity for people.”

Of the 22 complaints filed with the CEDHJ so far this year, three were against public officials and the remainder were against private individuals. Most discrimination has taken place in schools and the workplace, where people’s rights have been violated because of disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation or physical appearance. The CEDHJ received a further 32 complaints of discrimination in 2012 and another 43 in 2011.

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