1. As in most countries of the region, disabled persons in Brazil have had to deal with situations of inequality and discrimination in both fact and in law. The country had taken no measures to provide real equality in access to opportunities or other compensatory measures in terms of the common needs of life (transport, access to public building and places) or education about negative and disqualifying prejudice and discrimination.

2. In a population where misery and housing conditions and access to public services are as imbalanced as they are in Brazil, the situation of disabled persons produces extremely discriminatory experiences involving great suffering and risk to the personal integrity of the person, both physically and mentally.

3. The Federal Constitution of 1988, unlike all the previous constitutions, afforded unprecedented treatment to the rights of disabled persons. The constitutional underpinnings of this subject appear in Article 5 ("It is the common competence of the union, the states, the federal district and the citites, (11) to care for the health and public assistance, protection and guarantee of disabled persons") and in Article 24 (It is the resaponsibility of the union, the states, the federal district to legislate in a concurrent manner on (XIV) the protection and social integration of disabled persons").

4. The constitutional provisions pertaining to the protection of the disabled also include the areas of social rights (articles 6 and 227.1), education (articles 7.XXV, 205 and 208.III), social assistance (article 203, clauses IV and V), labor (article 7.XXXI and article 37.VIII) and architectural barriers (article 227.2 and article 224).

5. Law 7853/89 contains provisions on support for disabled persons and their integration into society, creates the national coordination office for social integration, creates the national coordination office for integration of disabled persons, and regulates the activities of the Public Ministry and defines crimes and issues other rules. The coordination office for the integration of disabled persons, now linked to the National Secretariat of Human Rights, under the Ministry of Justice, coordinates the application of legislation on the disabled and organizes the activities of the ministries and of the state and city governments.

6. Disabled persons have been the object of several policies under the responsibility of different sectors of the present government which points to the high priority the government attaches to this subject. With respect to education, the leading efforts are the institutional campaign aimed at integrating the disabled student into the regular school system, in furtherance of article 208.III of the constitution, teacher training and information about disabilities in teacher education programs. According to the government all the school material is being provided to disabled students and being reproduced ib Braille for the blind.

7. Activities in health are the responsibility of a specific sector in the Ministry of Health, the ccordination office for the care of special groups (CAGES). At this time, all the procedures required for medical and motor rehabilitation any any prostheses are provided by the single health system (SUS). The government emphasizes that technical staff from the state offices of education, health, labor and social action and the armed forces have been trained in community-based rehabilitiation techniques as a low cost alternative for needy regions.

8. In the area of technical and work training, the secretariat of vocational training under the Ministry of Labor prepared a vocational qualification project for disabled persons. This project has been implemented in 23 states and executed with resources from the worker protection fund (AT). In all, 13,765 persons have been trained. In addition, studies are now in progress to prepare regulations governing open positions reserved for disabled persons in public competitions, as provided in article 37.VIII of the federal constituion.

9. The government also reported on other activities carried out to protect the rights of disabled persons: updating of the technical standards of the Brazilian Technical Standards Association (ABNT), for the purpose of eliminating barriers to disabled persons. A draft law instituting national policy on accessibility by disabled persons is now in the final stage of preparation. The benefit of ongoing subsidy has been paid since 1996 to the disabled. The Public Ministry shall prepare in all states of the union social workers specialized in protecting the rights of the disabled.

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