• In Mexico, there are over 7.6 million people with disabilities and we realize that many of them have no real, effective access to enjoying the rights enshrined in our Constitution, he said.
  • The president instructed the ministers in his Cabinet, whose action has an impact on ensuring rights for people with disabilities, to meet at least once every semester with social organizations to define lines of action and policy to advance this effort.
  • He said that in the next few days, he will submit a package of bills to Congress to bring many of our laws into line with the terms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in Mexico eight years ago.
  • He established the National System for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

After pointing out that the Mexican State is obliged to ensure that people with disabilities in the country have full access to all the social rights enshrined in our Constitution, President Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed the government’s commitment to working for those with disabilities.

In Mexico, there are over 7.6 million people with disabilities and we realize that many of them have no real, effective access to enjoying the rights enshrined in our Constitution, he said.

He recalled that eight years ago today, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations in 2006, came into force in Mexico. In this context, he added, today, "We reaffirm our commitment to coordinating our efforts to bring the legal framework and public policies into line with our obligations derived from Mexico’s signing of the Convention approved ten years ago by the United Nations.

He said that in the next few days, he will submit to Congress, “A package of bills to bring many of our laws into line with the terms provided for in the Convention, to ensure consistency between what we posit and pledge and what our laws guarantee.”

The president instructed the ministers in his Cabinet, whose action has an impact on ensuring rights for people with disabilities, to meet at least once every semester with social organizations to define lines of action and policy to advance this effort.

He also noted that all the different orders of government working with civil society organizations must allow, “Our legal framework to be adapted so that we can have laws in the states and at the federal level that are designed to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities.”

Addressing the governors of the various states, members of his Cabinet and representatives of civil society, the president also stressed the need for efforts, "So that we have a National Information System on Disability with two basic components: a Disabled Persons’ Register and its Geo-referenced System. That is a task we are committed to today.”

"We must have much more extensive information. Today we know there are approximately 7.7 million people who have some kind of disability, but this comes from surveys conducted by the INEGI and public entities, but not because we know precisely  who and where they are,” he said.

The president said that, “The government’s task is to listen to society, to the various social organizations and sectors of our society that face different problems. The government  does not wish to define public policy on its own, but by listening, building and enriching any of the definitions designed to address the problems facing the various sectors of our society.”

He also confirmed the government’s commitment to, “Listening to organizations working for persons with disabilities; and for them to know that we are very aware of you and that we will maintain this dialog permanently and continuously through the public agencies created for this purpose.”

"Let us make joint efforts and work together, let us walk hand in hand and keep alive the spirit that led to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: nothing about us, without us. We will continue working with you,” he said.

Earlier in the day, President Peña Nieto led the ceremony for the installation of the System for the National Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, where he witnessed the signing of the Letter of Intent by the National Governors’ Conference and the National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

WE ARE CELEBRATING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A GROUNDBREAKING LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT MEXICO PROPOSED TO THE WORLD: JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE

Secretary of Social Development José Antonio Meade said that the federal government, state governments and civil society today celebrated the construction of a groundbreaking legal framework: a legal framework that was a Mexican proposal for the world, signed 10 years ago, which came into force eight years ago.

He said that political commitment enabled this legal architecture to come into force, “In an effort that should make social rights available to everyone.”

The president said that, as regards education, health, housing and food, the Constitution does not distinguish in terms of access. Accordingly, he assumed the commitment to the Convention, the Constitution and the National System to ensure that rights are valid for everyone.  “That encourages us today,” he said.

TODAY WE HAVE ACHIEVED THE UNSWERVING COMMITMENT OF THE THREE ORDERS of GOVERNMENT AND THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTORS TO CREATE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: MERCEDES JUAN

Director General of the National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS) Mercedes Juan López said that, “The installation of the National System for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities advances the care, promotion and follow-up of the international commitment of the Mexican State to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

"Moreover, it achieves the unswerving commitment of the three levels of government and the public and private sectors to create conditions of equality and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, with strict respect for their human rights,” she said.

Mercedes Juan explained that during President Peña Nieto’s administration, significant progress has been made as regards the human rights of persons with disabilities, such as the Public Policy Design Manual, produced by the Interior Ministry, which establishes the new constitutional human rights principles, including the rights of persons with disabilities.

She added that the labor sector has made significant progress in incentives for companies such as the Gilberto Rincón Gallardo Inclusive Firm Award, presented to 1,230 firms over the past three years.

She also mentioned that the National Labor Liaison Network  to promote and disseminate labor inclusion benefiting more than 10,000 people has continued.

As regards education, she highlighted the adjustments to over five thousand educational institutions, and the creation of Centers for Students with Disabilities: "There are now over 200 in 32 states serving 500,000 students," she explained.

THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS ONE OF MEXICO’S GREATEST CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD: NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE PREVENTION OF DISCRIMINATION

Alexandra Haas Paciuc, President of the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination, said that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the finest contributions Mexico has given the world in recent years, since it was our country that first proposed advancing the drafting of a binding international document that recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities.

She considered that this instrument is, “Is the first 21st century human rights treaty. It is document that was completed in a very reasonable time, thanks to the determined work of our diplomats and the efforts of the Mexican state.”

She declared that the Convention makes about 10 percent of the world population subjects of rights, prohibits all forms of discrimination and, in particular, obliges states to change the welfare approach, based on the medical model, with which  people with disabilities had been treated, for a social model, in which the idea of a person's disability shifts to the barriers he faces that prevent his full and effective inclusion.

After pointing out that, “Disability is not a tragedy, the real tragedy is discrimination,” she said that the essence of the Convention is based on the principle that people with disabilities do not need pity or charity, but universal designs, reasonable arrangements and recognition of their legal status so that they can enjoy their rights and fundamental freedoms under equal conditions.

She explained the need to give this instrument a fresh impetus to ensure accessibility in all areas of the country, such as transportation, urban infrastructure, architecture, information systems, technology and communications, together with the full recognition of the legal status of persons with disabilities.

WE CAN BE PRODUCTIVE AND CREATE OUR OWN LIFE PROJECT: INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES FOUNDATION

Santiago Velázquez, President of the Independent Living for People with Disabilities Foundation, said that for 30 years, they have fought nonstop, “To make our challenges and our rights visible, ranging from proper attention in the areas of health for rehabilitation, education, and even, at times, the demand for spaces in the inclusion in labor, transport, all options for political participation and popular representation, with a clear vision to demand our dignity and the ability to create our own life project.”

He said that 80 percent of the 7.6 million people with disabilities in Mexico, “Can be perfectly productive.”

In other words, he added, "Over five million of us could work and pay taxes and just over a million will not be able to do so because of their multiple disabilities or their severe intellectual disabilities. They will obviously have to receive benefits, budgets; but five million of us will be working and defending our own rights.”