Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considers initial report of Peru


Committee on the Rights of Persons
  with Disabilities 17 April 2012

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today considered the initial report of Peru on how that country is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Presenting the report of Peru, Julio Rojas Julca, Vice Minister for Vulnerable Populations at the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, said that Peru was the first Latin American country to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  It was currently considering a human rights centered legislative framework to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoyed full rights and was fully committed to achieving the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.  Peru was implementing a $ 15 million pilot project on making the region of Tumbes accessible, which would provide first evidence for public policies for persons with disabilities and would validate instruments, tools and methodologies for their social inclusion.

Wilfredo Guzman, President of the National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities, also in introductory remarks, said that Peru provided considerable resources to the needs of persons with disabilities, including in health and education.  The new budget aimed to achieve tangible outcomes and ensure the responsible use of public resources and Peru intended to continue with the same public investments in 2013.

Carlos Rios Espinosa, Committee Expert and country Rapporteur for the report of Peru, asked the delegation to provide more information on the harmonization of national legislation with the provisions of the Convention, the mainstreaming of human rights into public policies on disability, and the participation of persons with disabilities in public and political life.  Other Experts raised questions concerning, among other matters, disability legislation in Peru and legal remedies available to persons with disabilities for discrimination based on disability.  Participation of persons with disabilities in public and private life was another issue of concern, as was the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities and their enjoyment of the right to liberty on an equal basis with others. 

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Julca said that the questions and comments by the Committee were food for thought for Peru.

Also in concluding remarks, Ronald Mc Callum, Chairperson of the Committee, said that Peru was the third nation with which the Committee had dialogued and that their answers were the most comprehensive to date.

The delegation of Peru consisted of representatives of the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations, the National Council for Integration of Disable Persons, and the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The next public meeting of the Committee will be on Friday, 20 April 2012, when it will issue its concluding observations and recommendations on the report of Peru and publicly close its seventh session.


Report

The initial report of Peru can be read here: (CRPD/C/PER/1)

Presentation of the Report

JULIO ROJAS JULCA, Vice Minister for Vulnerable Populations at the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, said that Peru was a developing country with a population of 30 million people and it was characterized by all forms of diversity.  Peru was fully committed to implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to ensuring the social inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life in the country.  Peru was the first Latin American country to ratify the Convention and had approved the plan for equality in opportunities for persons with disabilities 2009 to 2018.  Currently the Congress was considering a legislative programme that would have a human rights centered approach for persons with disabilities and would establish a legal framework to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoyed their full rights in Peru.  Budgeting and resources presented a significant challenge to the full enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities, namely in health, education, employment and housing.  The Government would be mandating research on disability to be carried out by the national institute for statistics through the current draft budget.  This budget would also see the implementation of a pilot project on making the region of Tumbes accessible, which would improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities.  This intervention would be a joint one with Ecuador.  The results of the pilot project would allow Peru to improve public policies that better addressed the needs of persons with disabilities and was expected to present an investment of over $ 15 million.  This intervention was a good example of cooperation between two countries; there was still a lot to accomplish and many obstacles to surmount, but Peru was fully committed to achieving a State with the full social inclusion of persons with disabilities.

WILFREDO GUZMAN, President of the National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities, also in introductory remarks, said that Peru was establishing a budget of over 400 million soles which was a significant amount dedicated to the needs of persons with disabilities, while there were 180 million soles to be spent on persons with disabilities this year.  There was a real investment in health, in the amount of $ 32 million and those funds were dedicated to building modern rehabilitation centres for persons with disabilities, physical therapy and more would be dedicated to the mental health of persons with disabilities.  Significant investment was being made in both special and inclusive education for persons with disabilities, addressing the needs of over 15,000 persons.  The new budget aimed for a tangible outcome and the responsible use of public resources and Peru intended to continue with the same public investments in 2013.

Questions by Committee Experts

CARLOS RIOS ESPINOSA, Committee Expert and country Rapporteur for the report of Peru, noted that Peru was the first Latin American country to be appearing before the Committee.  Mr. Espinosa hoped that Peru would share its experiences in implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in this country and how the provisions tied in with public plans in the country.  Of particular importance was the mainstreaming of human rights into public policies on disability.  What was Peru intending to do to ensure the new law for persons with disabilities and how it would harmonize new concepts of the Convention with the legislation dating back to the 1990s?  How were persons with disabilities involved in the planning and implementation of the provisions of the Convention?  How did Peru intend to include persons with disabilities to the 2009-2018 plan that was being implemented at the moment?  Further, the Committee wished to hear in more details how Peru intended to carry out the study on persons with disabilities and was particularly interested in hearing about the situation of women and children with disabilities living in rural areas. 

Accessibility requirements were another area of interest for the Committee, both in accessing public services and public buildings.  It was very important for the State to focus on some centres run by individuals that currently did not respect the rights of persons with disabilities; recently, 28 eight persons died in one of the centres because the management did not ensure their protection.  The Committee was concerned about the legislative provisions limiting persons with disabilities from obtain Peruvian nationality and wished to hear more about plans to amend this law.  Some 81 per cent of disabled population did not have access to health services and the Committee wished to hear more about how the Government was guaranteeing their right to health.  Also, what was the Government doing to ensure greater access to employment for persons with disabilities, 60 per cent of whom were unemployed?  How were decent standards of living for persons with disabilities ensured?  Another issue of concern for the Committee was the participation of persons with disabilities in public and political life and Mr. Espinosa wished to hear more on this topic.

An Expert requested more information on legal remedies available to persons with disabilities for discrimination based on disability.  What monitoring mechanisms were in place to ensure accessibility?  What sanctions were available against those who violated the provisions on accessibility?  Another Expert asked whether the national disability strategy supported the implementation of Article 9 on accessibility of the Convention and to what extent this article was applied in building codes and in accessing banking services?  What was the role of the private sector in promoting accessibility?  A Committee Expert asked how Peru planned to tackle multiple discrimination against persons with disabilities, for example on the basis of race or language?  Could the delegation provide more detailed information on disability legislation in Peru and on the role of civil society in ensuring the social inclusion of persons with disabilities?

Response by Delegation

In response to these questions and comments, the delegation said Peru was very concerned about getting a better overview and data on persons with disabilities in the country, both in terms of numbers and the type of disability.  The Government was also working on providing better care, focused on inclusion and access to services.  It would not be possible to work and achieve sustainable results without significant involvement of civil society and society as a whole.  Peru had the responsibility to strengthen the social fabric of the society and that was why the Government was working in close cooperation with associations of persons with disabilities who were in close contact with society at large.  Peru was aware that there was still work to be done, and reiterated its commitment to country-wide development and inclusion of persons with disabilities. 

The National Human Rights Plan 2010-2012 had 19 specific components concerning disability in sectors as diverse as health, education, employment and others.  The National Human Rights Council was now working on getting a better picture of the situation.  Peru had the ability to address disability on various levels of Government and this also included civil society.  Discrimination against persons with disabilities and against indigenous peoples was an offence which carried a penalty of three to five years imprisonment. 

With regard to legal remedies available to persons with disabilities for disability-based discrimination, these included the possibility of complaints lodged to the concerned ministries and the office of the ombudsman, criminalization of disability-based discrimination, constitutional guarantees protecting these rights, and others.  The Government promoted legislation enabling access to the Internet for persons with disabilities, access to voting and free health services to persons with disabilities and members of their families.  In 2006, the Government adopted an accessibility code which had been revised in 2009; Peru had made considerable progress in accessibility legislation and was committed to further improve it, as the target of 60 per cent of accessible public buildings was not achieved yet.

Questions by Experts

In a second round of questions and comments, Experts said that the legal institution of interdiction in Peru contradicted with Article 12 on recognition of legal capacity and asked how many people were legally interdicted in Peru.  What support services were available to people with psycho-social disabilities to ensure they enjoyed their legal capacities?  Did the Government have further information about abandoned people in the streets in Peru and what measures were in place to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoyed their right to liberty on an equal basis with others?  The delegation was asked to provide more information on the mortality rate of babies with disabilities and persons with disabilities who were victims of trafficking in organs and also to comment on the integration of disability perspectives protocols for natural disasters and emergency protocols. 

It was known that women and children with disabilities were more vulnerable to violence, both domestic and sexual, and the Committee wished to know what measures were in place to protect and assist them.  What specific measures were in place to ensure the independent living of persons with disabilities and to ensure that all persons with disabilities were free of corporal punishment?  How did the Government define inclusive education and what services were available in schools for children with disabilities?  Did Peru plan to revise the electoral law and remove discrimination against persons with disabilities?  What measures were adopted to ensure that persons with disabilities, particularly with psycho-social disabilities, could form their associations?  Experts also asked how the Government planned to ensure and broaden access to health for persons with disabilities, particularly in rural areas, and when it intended to expand the civil code to allow certain categories of persons with disabilities to marry.  What percentage of television programmes was provided with captions and what would be done to broaden access to the Internet for visually impaired persons?  

Response by Delegation

On equal recognition of persons with disabilities under the law, the delegation said that Peru was working on systematizing the register of persons with disabilities in the country in order to better understand their numbers.  The legal provisions were available to persons with disabilities unable to convey their views and those unable to express their free consent.  The Medical Committee was the only body determining whether a person was able to decide for himself or herself, or whether a guardian would be appointed.  The National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities would be recruiting a deaf-blind person to focus on the work of the Council with the private sector to demonstrate that deaf-blind persons had abilities like others. 

With regard to Article 24 on education, the delegation said that the statistics would be provided concerning the number of children and adolescents with disabilities attending school or out of school, including gender disaggregated figures.  Peru had the information on education coverage for persons with disabilities and would provide this information in writing.  Significant progress had been achieved in education coverage for persons with disabilities; according to the 2006 survey, education was available to 64 per cent of young children and to 88 per cent of the 6 to 11 age group.  Data related to persons with disabilities was not always completely reliable.  There was a process of refinements of statistics and protocols.  Peru acknowledged that almost 11 per cent of the population was affected by disability, involving over three million people.  It was necessary to undertake a proper survey of persons with disabilities, which would be implemented in the region of Tumbes.  Access to education in Peru still needed to be improved and the statistics provided earlier by the delegation referred to the overall population and not persons with disabilities.

Questions from Experts

A Committee Expert noted that persons with disabilities were not only observers but participants in cultural and sports life and asked how Peru would be participating in Paralympics Games. 

Response from the Delegation

Concerning access to health care and health institutions, the delegation said private insurance in Peru did not cover disability if this was a pre-existing condition.  There was a national database on types of disabilities depending on the rehabilitation hospital.  The delegation pointed out different laws and regulations aiming to strengthen health and rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities.  The health system in Peru was non-contributory and ensured universal access to primary health care; congenital problems were however not included.   Peru started a Pension at 65 programme which was a non-contributory pension scheme and the Government was working on ensuring access to non-contributory social programmes. 

Peru was abrogating the law allowing forced institutional care of persons with mental disabilities and Government believed that involuntary institutional care was appropriate only when risk to life or risk to others existed.  A bill was currently before the Congress abrogating certain provisions of this law and the Government aimed to make legislative changes by which determination of legal incapacity would be done by medical commission.

It was a policy of the Government to combat any and all forms of violence against women and children and a whole department at the Ministry for Women was dedicated to this fight.  Shelters were available throughout the country, with trained staff and resources to ensure they run 24 hours a day and were accessible at any moment.  There were activities supporting the integration of women and increasing their entrepreneurship to be financially independent, while femicide was now an offence punished by severe sentences by the penal code.

A number of measures had been undertaken to ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in public and political life, such as in elections and increased access to voting stations and voting documents in Braille.  Persons with disabilities had the right to set up associations and there was a law promoting their participation in sports and sports events, including in Paralympics Games where they had even won medals. 

The Ministry for Women had a plan that was being implemented throughout the country to support victims of violence and abuse.  Amendments had been made to the Penal Code related to sexual violence and sentences for offences against persons with disabilities.  It was also the case for sexual abuse of children, child sex tourism and for offences committed by public officials such as teachers.  The Criminal Code made abortion in any circumstances illegal, including consented abortion, abortion without consent, and others. 

All the progress in the country had been achieved in cooperation with civil society.  The National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities participated in legislative amendments to make sure that the views of persons with disabilities were included.  Civil society had a specific and special opportunity in Peru in that persons with disabilities could participate in decision making on the use of resources at the local and regional levels.  There was no possibility for organ trafficking in Peru and this was strictly forbidden by the law.  There was a decree in Peru concerning civil defence which specified measures to ensure the safety and protection of persons with disabilities during disasters and emergencies. 
 
Questions from Experts

In additional questions and comments, Experts noted reports related to the practice of administering narcotic drugs to people with psycho-social disabilities in psychiatric hospitals in Peru and asked the delegation to comment on those reports.  What measures were in place to ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in policies on inclusive development?  The delegation was asked to provide some examples of South-South partnerships involving persons with disabilities.  An Expert asked how alertness to violence and abuse of children and adolescents with disability was achieved.  Sexual trafficking and sexual abuse of children was criminalized in Peru only until the age of 14 and an Expert asked what could be done to bring this in line with international standards.  What measures could be adopted by Peru to facilitate early diagnosis in case of a range of disabilities? 

Response from the Delegation

In response to these questions and comments, the delegation said that drugs used at La Cuerra hospital were always registered drugs and patients were treated according to the 2012-2022 plan for treatment of psychiatric patients and in cooperation with their families.  Peru had an obsolete and old law on aliens and was trying to modernize it and ensure it was in line with international standards.  In its recent population census, Peru found almost 11 per cent of its population were persons with disabilities, or 15 per cent if World Health Organization standards were applied, representing over four million people overall. 

Peru had members of ethnic groups that still carried out forms of eugenics by letting children with disabilities die of starvation or setting them adrift on a raft.  Funding needed to be ensured to research those practices, change approaches of people and ensure that disability was not a cause for murder.  The report of Peru mentioned the scourges of trafficking in organs and sex trafficking of persons with disabilities and the 2011 to 2016 programme to eradicate them.  Legal amendments ensured greater protection of children from sexual violence for which sanctions were strengthened and those provisions were extended to protect children from birth to 18 years of age.  Abortion was a crime under the Penal Code, as was sterilization of persons with psycho-social disabilities.

Peru had embarked on the process of economic growth and inclusive development which had seen various programmes and results-oriented budgets being put in place, including for persons with disabilities.  This year’s budget had 180 million soles for the needs of persons with disabilities and Peru hoped that next year would see at least a one per cent increase.  Many programmes were now disability-oriented, making it possible for persons with disabilities to draw pensions, improve nutrition, education and reduce poverty.  The result-oriented budget based on findings from the Tumbes pilot project would make it possible to put in place policies to ensure that all citizens and organizations could find online information about spending in the 1,800 municipalities in Peru.

Concluding remarks

JULIO ROJAS JULCA, Vice Minister for Vulnerable Populations from the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru, in concluding remarks said that the questions and comments by the Committee were food for thought for Peru.

RONALD McCALLUM, Chairperson of the Committee, in concluding remarks said that Peru was the third nation with which the Committee had dialogued and that their answers were the most comprehensive to date.  The Committee knew that Peru was concerned about improving the life of persons with disabilities, meaning that both parties were on the same side.
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