How do our laws address people with Down’s Syndrome?

In Brazilian legislation, people with trisomy have broad legal protections, but projects geared to their specific needs still need to move forward.

Our Constitution guarantees all Brazilian citizens a series of rights, such as the right to life, education, decent work, sports, culture and leisure, among others. People with disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome are as protected as any others by the letter, which repudiates and prohibits any form of discrimination against them, and have giving rise to several laws that assure benefits to them.

The most assertive (and recent) example is the Disability Statute, Law 13.146 of 2015. Its main objective is to ensure that disabled people, including those with Down, have access to the rights that all other citizens have, in addition to determine some special benefits, needed because of the condition of these people. Also very important is Decree 6.949/2009, which validated in Brazil the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed in New York. They are texts that promote innumerable improvements in the lives of these people, and that can be checked in this booklet.

It is also worth mentioning the creation of entities and councils, such as the National Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Conade, which came up with the mission of helping the population to take part in the process of defining, planning and evaluating policies for the person with deficiency. It is worth visiting their portal.

But what about the specific needs of people with Down Syndrome? Are there laws geared specifically to them?

Those are questions that raise doubts. In Brazil, the most common scenario is people with trisomy being protected by wider laws that apply to all types of conditions (in this article, we mention some of these laws, with a special focus on school inclusion, something very important for the development of children with Down). At the federal level, there are no laws specifically aimed at persons with Down Syndrome, they fall within the broader definition of persons with disabilities given in Article 2 of the Statute, that states that they are people who

"Have a long-term disability of a physical, mental, intellectual or sensorial nature, which, in interaction with one or more barriers, may obstruct their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with other persons"

This includes citizens with Down. Thus, with laws that seek not only to "compensate" but also to effectively insert these people into society, we have rights that are secured by law precisely to this end. Let's list some of them:

  • Every child with Down or other disability has the right to enter public and private education without any additional cost or barrier. Denying this right is a crime, provided for in Article 8 of Law 7,853 / 89:

"It constitutes a crime punishable by imprisonment of two (2) to five (5) years and a fine: I - refuse, levy additional amounts, suspend, procrastinate, cancel or terminate student enrollment in an educational establishment of any course or degree, public or private, due to their disability; "

  • Law 8.899/94 granted free pass to persons with disabilities in the interstate collective transportation system.

  • Law 10.048/2000 determines priority service to people with disability in companies and public services, besides offering reserved seats intended for them in public transport vehicles.

  • Law 10.226/2001 alters the Electoral Code so that persons with disabilities are properly oriented about the easiest place to vote, ensuring that they can exercise their citizenship.

  • Law 12.933/2013 assures discounted access to people with deficiencies in sporting and artistic-cultural events.

There are also laws that guarantee quotas for people with disability in companies, or financial aid for those who can not work, and others for tax exemption. The idea is to make their life fairer in the face of the challenges they face.

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