MP Fernando Linares Beltranena denounced by organisations of disabled people after stating that “Disabled people only constitute an expense for the country”.
Representatives of organisations of disabled people filed a complaint against MP Fernando Linares Beltranena at the Prosecutor’s Office of Human Rights at the Public Ministry (MP) for discrimination and violation of rights of disabled people.
The accusations followed a meeting last week when members of organisations of disabled people resorted to congress to put pressure to include the approval of a new disability law on the agenda, known as Law 5125.
The group reported how in this improvised meeting, MP Linares Beltranena not only resisted the proposal, but insisted that “the subsidy that they (disabled people) expect, is not an investment”. He went on to express how “we, members of parliament, represent all Guatemalans and have to see not only to social programs, but how much these cost and what effect they will have”.
Linares Beltranena, not only confirmed his statement, but went on to state that this is not at all discriminatory:
“I am not telling you that you cannot get in, but it is a legislative opinion”.
Rosidalia Aldana, one of the persons present in the meeting insisted that parliament was derogatory on this occasion in referring to disabled people as “an expense”.
Pressure has been on to see this new groundbreaking law that would finally recognise the rights of disabled people, establishing that government entities should ensure that disabled people are able to access services. Among the proposals is also the demand to establish the Presidential Secretariat on Disability Affairs and the transformation of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (CONADI) into an independent entity.
Linares Beltranena has a long history of attempting to block progressive constitutional reforms, a public figure that is garnering increased resistance and protest.
Apart from reporting Linares Beltranena, the disability movement has also set up a petition online to put pressure to push the law through insisting that:
“Approval of this law would secure our civil and political rights; greater accessibility in all forms; access of disabled people to education, health and rehabilitation, work and employment; a register accounting for all disabled people in Guatemala; better protection of human rights of disabled people; tax exemptions on imports of special vehicles, assistive and technical devices, and specialised equipment used exclusively by disabled people; and reforms to different laws and codes”.