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Press releases Treaty bodies
23 September 2014
Responses by the Delegation
The Ecuadorian criminal code sanctioned the crime of rape with a prison sentence of up to 18 years, said a delegate, adding that health professionals were obliged to denounce such a crime. Those measures were backed up by the strengthening of the prosecution service, and through special measures for persons with disabilities.
The absence of criminal responsibility was removed when persons were unaware of the unlawful nature of their actions, but incarceration measures could be taken for security purposes. Social and psychological services would provide the necessary information to determine the length of incarceration. The Ministry of Justice was also developing a torture prevention mechanism, with a special chapter on persons with disabilities and their needs.
Responding to Experts’ concerns that investment in mental health services was low, a delegate listed a range of services and facilities that were available, noting that 80 per cent of health problems were treated in hospitals, while other cases would be treated specialized hospitals. New health care facilities were opened, among them those treating mental illnesses. In July 2014 a mental health care model was launched in cooperation with civil society in order to draw an inter-sectoral national mental health plan, with provisions for increased funding.
Ecuador was moving from special towards inclusive education, and was identifying students with disabilities and their needs in order to move them to inclusive schools. More than 17,000 students with disabilities now attended mainstream schools. The Government was also adapting the national curriculum to make it more inclusive.
Regarding accessibility, a delegate said that a country-wide federation was in charge of the provision of materials in accessible communication formats. However, there were no sanctions for the failure to comply with accessibility standards. The country was in the process of ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty, and was converting books into Braille.
In the labour market there were 78,077 people with disabilities, which meant that there were approximately 10,000 people with disabilities who had not yet found employment. In addition to relevant national employment policies, the private sector also offered help in that area, such as training for financial planning. Furthermore, the country participated in global discussions of micro-finance schemes, and cooperated with different countries in the region regarding that matter.
The 2008 constitution promoted a legal framework that included and promoted the rights of all citizens, including those with disabilities, as well as the principle of inter-sectoral and citizen participation in the creation of policies. A holistic approach was taken towards equality matters, emphasized a delegate.
An independent participant from the Ecuadorian Federation of Blind People said that since 2006 persons with disabilities benefited from different projects implemented in cooperation with the Government, which increased their participation in supervising the implementation of laws. They also received support from the Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion. Progress was made in the recognition of sign language and the passing of regulations on accessible communication formats. Participation was also extended to encompass a larger proportion of persons with disabilities, such as the National Federation of Parents of Children with Disabilities.
MARYSOL RUILOVA, Deputy Minister of Public Health, thanked the Committee for its contributions, constructive criticism and feedback. Ecuador was a country of solidarity and inclusion and was proud of the work it had done so far towards implementing the Convention. However, much more needed to be done, particularly to strengthen accountability and raise awareness on disability issues through various inter-sectoral projects. While the disability model in Ecuador may appear to be medical, its spirit was the one of social inclusion, she stressed.
RAMIRO RIVADENEIRA SILVA, Public Defender of Ecuador, said that in 2015 a new draft bill would be adopted that would broaden provisions to promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities. The culture of discrimination in Ecuador had to change, and to that end the awareness raising campaigns being organized were very important. Ecuador was undergoing significant changes in order to protect the rights of all its citizens.
For use of the information media; not an official record