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Rights For All: The Struggle for Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Venezuela

Updated: 3 days ago

people with disabilities

In 2021, Maria attempted to report her episode of sexual abuse. She is hearing impaired and, at the time, there was no Venezuelan sign language interpreter to help her file her complaint. The authorities did not pay attention to her case and she was ignored by the justice system.

This testimony is part of Consorven's Annual Report 2022 on the human rights situation of persons with disabilities in Venezuela, and illustrates the violations of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and pregnant people in the country.

Inclusion Means Understanding Diversity

The struggle for sexual and reproductive rights has positioned itself as one of the flagships of contemporary feminism. From access to comprehensive sexuality education in Latin America to the end of female mutilation in Africa, activists are mobilizing to ensure that all people can enjoy an informed and pleasurable sexual life, free from violence and discrimination, and obtain the tools to make autonomous decisions about their reproductive lives. However, achieving this goal requires us to understand the different realities faced by women, girls and pregnant women in all their diversity.

Currently, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 billion people in the world live with some type of disability, that is, 16% of the population.

This group has different requirements, which depend on the specific characteristics of each disability. That is, the needs of a person with a visual disability will always be different from the needs of a person with a psychosocial disability.

In any case, efforts to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities are essential for the development of a dignified life. It should be noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that rights are universal, regardless of gender identity, socioeconomic status, religion, disability or other social factor.

People with Disabilities in Venezuela Need Information

In terms of sexual and reproductive rights, the first obstacle faced by this group is the lack of access to comprehensive sexual education. The lack of resources tailored to their specific needs increases the gap between people with and without disabilities.

people with disabilities lack of accessible information

Cofavic confirms that the main barrier to access for people with disabilities in Venezuela to optimal sexual and reproductive health is the lack of accessible information and points out that 54.8% of the women with disabilities interviewed do not receive scientific information or information from reliable sources on health.

This reality is also reflected in access to sexual and reproductive health services, since gynecological consultations, contraceptive counseling, voluntary interruption of pregnancy and other services are not adapted for people with disabilities.

A Global Need

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a legal instrument that seeks to protect the human rights of persons with disabilities and promote conditions of equality that allow for the integral development of this group.

The convention was approved in 2006, with the participation of several actors: UN Member States, UN Observers, Special Rapporteur on Disability, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

In 2009, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ratified this convention, which generates the Venezuelan State's commitment to take legislative and administrative measures, as well as to develop inclusive public policies. However, from paper to reality, social exclusion remains, which perpetuates the inequality of rights for persons with disabilities in the sexual and reproductive sphere.

The violation of the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities is a significant problem that has historically remained invisible. It is essential to advocate for equal rights, eliminate stigma and prejudice, and promote the inclusion of this group in all spheres of society. Guaranteeing the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities is essential to building a more just and inclusive society.

If you want to know more about your sexual and reproductive rights we invite you to visit our Forum (Spanish).



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