Costa Rica ratifies treaty protecting disabled people

August 8, 2008

Lawmakers have approved 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 and developmental problems.

Under the treaty, Costa Rica must provide equal access to education, healthcare and transportation to people with disabilities. The government must promote the use of Braille and sign language and ensure that public buildings and roads are accessible to disabled people.

About 10 percent of the world´s population has a disability, according to the United Nations´ Web site. Some 130 countries have signed the convention, and 33 have ratified it.

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 that will oversee the treaty´s implementation.

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