Human Rights of Persons with disabilities
The rights of persons with disabilities to equality and inclusion are now recognised at the international level, in particular thanks to the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This human rights based approach to disability requires a complete break with traditional attitudes marked by an often well-meaning but misguided condescension towards persons with disabilities. Accordingly, past policies focusing only on institutional care, medical rehabilitation and welfare benefits must be overhauled. Instead, states must fulfil their obligation to remove the barriers that hinder persons with disabilities from taking control of their lives and becoming active citizens contributing to our societies.
Unfortunately, progress has been slow and the estimated 80 million Europeans living with disabilities are still discriminated everywhere and in many fields of life. Children with disabilities are denied their educational rights because schools are not equipped to meet their needs. Job opportunities are limited due to discriminatory practices and inaccessible workplaces, making people dependent on social benefits. Flawed systems of guardianship prevent people from taking decisions affecting their lives. Several Council of Europe member states still hesitate to close down residential institutions and develop community-based services for persons with disabilities arguing that institutional care is necessary for persons with multiple or "profound" disabilities.
The Commissioner regularly raises this topic with authorities in member states, and has expressed his concerns about these persistent problems in country monitoring reports. Through specific thematic publications, such as the issue papers on legal capacity and the right to live in the community, he also seeks to raise awareness about the extent of the states' obligations and to contribute to the process of policy change.
- The right of people with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community (13.03.2012)
- Who gets to decide?: Right to legal capacity for persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities (20.02.2012)
- Human Rights and Disability: Equal rights for all (20.10.2008)
Third Party Interventions
Observations submitted by the Commissioner to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of The Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania (Application No. 47848/08) and press release
* "All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo."