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Dominican Republic - Disability

The Dominican Republic is not a disability friendly country as far as the infrastructure is concerned. Wheelchair access is not possible in most public buildings and the vast majority of low level apartment blocks do not have elevators or lifts. Roads and pavements will often have potholes as well. In addition there are no special facilities on public transport for people with disabilities. There are very few if any special schools for the deaf or blind or other disabilities, although that is slowly changing especially with more overseas groups working in conjunction with the Dominicans to establish them

Having said that, the Dominican people being the way they are there is no obvious discrimination against the disabled and they will do everything they can to help the disabled person including carrying them up stairs if there are no elevators, or onto the local buses or whatever is needed. In all public offices such as electricity companies, banks etc, there is often a special queue for the disabled and they will always be assisted before others,

There are various laws dealing with disabilities and law 42-2000 is an important piece of disability rights legislation. The law is a general anti-discrimination law that protects persons with disabilities "from every discriminatory act or process." It recognizes people with disabilities as "subjects with equal human, constitutional and civil rights and duties as those who do not find themselves in the same condition."

There is also a National Council for the Disabled. Despite the existence of these provisions, the Dominican Republic has a clear need for a specific organization to protect the rights of people with disabilities. There is no Ombudsman Office or other institution with which to file complaints regarding human rights violations.

Useful Resources

The National Council for the Disabled

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at yoursaucepans.blogspot.com.

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