People with Disabilities in Mexico Should Be Counted

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The National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information building in Aguascalientes City, Mexico on July 19, 2018.
© 2018 Agencia EL UNIVERSAL/EELG/GDA via AP Images

In a positive move, Mexico’s National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI) is looking at how to develop a new policy that would include disabilities in government data collection.  Without proper data, it is difficult for the government to develop and implement effective policies that impact millions of people around the country.

Many INEGI surveys, such as the periodic survey on violence against women, do not currently include disability categories, despite the prevalence of violence against women with disabilities. A 2020 Human Rights Watch report found government policies, including around data collection, do not do enough to protect women with disabilities from violence.

As it moves to implement the new policy, INEGI is consulting with disability rights organizations in Mexico. On July 12, Human Rights Watch, along with disability rights groups, sent a letter to the agency’s president calling for the process to be meaningful and accessible.

INEGI should make every effort to engage with organizations of persons with disabilities across Mexico to share information in accessible formats, including using easy-to-read and clear language. It should also ensure accessible mechanisms for input, including remote webinars for those with internet access, and in-person meetings where Covid-19 health protocols allow. The agency should also extend the consultation period beyond July 30, to allow for outreach to and input from organizations which may lack internet or rely on volunteers.

Consultation with people with disabilities who are deprived of their legal capacity, such as those under guardianship or in institutions is also essential. Children and adolescents with disabilities should also be appropriately involved in the consultation process.

Due weight should be given to the feedback provided by organizations, and INEGI should provide clear explanations for its decisions. This way, the agency can help ensure its reform has the desired outcome of collecting comprehensive, quality data on disability. The government has the opportunity to make people with disabilities count. It should finally do so correctly.