Venezuela has approved the creation of a new national council for people with disabilities in an attempt to eliminate the stigma around such communities, announced President Nicolas Maduro in a national address late Monday.
The Presidential Council for People with Disabilities was created to strengthen the participation of disabled persons in state and societal affairs, as well as increase awareness and eliminate discrimination towards disabled individuals across the country.
In the past months, Venezuela has tried to address the needs of the country’s large disabled community.
Last week, the state of Zulia created 55 municipal committees for people with disabilities. Zulia is one of the top three states with the highest population of disabled persons. Mark Azuaje, Zulia’s Coordinator of the regional municipalities, emphasized that the goal was to create a committee in each community council across the state.
Earlier this year, the country passed a new law saying 5 percent of a company’s employees must be people with disabilities, to ensure that employers cannot reject persons on the grounds of their physical challenges. The law also tries to ensure that persons from this community can enjoy “full and autonomous exercise of his or her capacities,” and are able to properly provide for their families.
Venezuela has also instituted further health programs focused on the needs of disabled persons and has widened their access to education, according to independent reports.
The president also announced on Monday the approval of the creation of a Presidential Council for Elderly People, which will represent the needs of Venezuela’s aging population.
Presidential Councils in Venezuela are created based on the suggestion of social organizations looking for better representation of minority populations in state affairs.
The two new councils announced will join seven other Presidential Councils recently created, which include: Women, Cultural, Indigenous, Community, Working Class, Youth and the Farmers and Fishermen’s councils.