Persons with disabilities

Peacekeeping - UNMIL

Social protection plays a key role in realizing the rights of persons with disabilities of all ages: providing them with an adequate standard of living, a basic level of income security; thus reducing levels of poverty and vulnerability. Moreover, mainstream and/or specific social protection schemes concerning persons with disabilities can have a major role in promoting their independence and inclusion by meeting their specific needs and supporting their social participation in a non-discriminatory manner. These social protection measures may include poverty reduction schemes, cash transfer programmes, social and health insurance, public work programmes, housing programmes, disability pensions and mobility grants.

Social protection from a rights-based approach must accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. Traditional disability-related social welfare schemes have mainly focused on poverty rather than taking into account specific challenges faced by persons with disabilities; particularly active participation in education, access to health and employment. Previous methods of addressing benefits for persons with disabilities have shown limited progress in overcoming the deeply-rooted social structures and practices that hinder opportunities for persons with disabilities. Consequently, social protection needs to move beyond traditional welfare approaches to intervention systems that promote active citizenship, social inclusion and community participation while avoiding paternalism and dependence.

The right of persons with disabilities to social protection is recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and, more specifically, the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 28 of the CRPD in particular recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living and to social protection, ensuring the enjoyment of both rights without discrimination on the basis of ability. Therefore, States parties should take appropriate measures to ensure that they receive equal access to mainstream social protection programmes and services —including basic services, social security systems, poverty reduction programmes and housing programmes—  but also specific programmes and services for disability-related needs and expenses.

Furthermore, the Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202) recognizes the importance of national social protection floors to provide basic social security guarantees to all persons, including persons with disabilities, across the life cycle (with priority given to poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion). Recently, as a result of the global financial and economic crisis, some high-income countries have begun contracting out their social security systems. These measures, taken by the State, have a compound effect and disproportionately impact persons with disabilities. In contrast, many middle and low-income countries have begun strengthening their social protection systems and adopting a number of programmes and counter cyclical measures to reduce poverty, exclusion and inequality especially among vulnerable populations.

 

Photo credit: “Africa’s disabled will not be forgotten” by Africa Renewal (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr)

 

Expert Commentaries

Are Cash Transfers a Means to Promote “Meaningful” Independent Living for Persons with Disabilities?

Despite progress made around disability and social policy in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there are still concerns that cash transfers in developing contexts may reinforce perceptions that persons with disabilities are dependent and incapable of work, rather than being a mechanism for meeting their needs and facilitating their empowerment.   Independent living as part […]

Social Protection for Indigenous Persons with Disabilities

Worldwide, the prevalence of disability tends to be higher within indigenous communities than among non-indigenous groups.1 This high prevalence of disability is both a cause and a consequence of severe poverty, violence and unsafe living conditions, including exposure to environmental degradation, toxic waste and the adverse impacts of development project.2 Indigenous persons with disabilities are […]

Principles

Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups

As a human right that is intrinsic to all, the international community recognizes the need to design and implement social protection systems according to the principle of social inclusion, underlying the particular need to include persons in the informal economy (Recommendation No. 202, para 3e). Delivery systems should therefore be particularly attuned to the challenges […]

Legal Instruments

Ley 180 sobre las discapacidades.

Protege a las personas con discapacidad; establece un sistema de prevención de discapacidades, atención e integración de personas con discapacidad que garantice su desarrollo y evite que sufran toda clase de discriminación, incluida la de género. Establece la creación y funcionamiento del Consejo Nacional de Discapacidades (CONADIS).

Ley Orgánica de Discapacidades

Establece la protección y reconocimiento de los cuidadores y cuidadoras de personas con alguna discapacidad (art. 5; 16). Los cuidadores pueden gozar de beneficios de inclusión laboral como “sustitutos” de la persona discapacitada (art. 48). Se amplía el permiso de maternidad por 3 meses adicionales, en el caso del nacimiento de niñas o niños con […]

Ley 7.600

La Ley tiene como objetivos, servir como instrumento a las personas con discapacidad para que alcancen su máximo desarrollo, su plena participación social, así como el ejercicio de los derechos y deberes establecidos en nuestro sistema jurídico; garantizar la igualdad de oportunidades para la población en todo ámbito; eliminar cualquier tipo de discriminación hacia estas […]

Ley 1.145

Crea el Sistema Nacional de Discapacidad (SND), entendido como el conjunto de orientaciones, normas, actividades, recursos, programas e instituciones que permiten la puesta en marcha de los principios generales de la discapacidad.

Ley 20.422 establece normas sobre igualdad de oportunidades e inclusión social de personas con discapacidad.

Garantiza la igualdad de oportunidades de las personas con discapacidad (Título I, pár.1).Promueve la autonomía personal y la atención a las personas en situación de dependencia a través de prestaciones o servicios de apoyo. La atención de las personas con discapacidad en situación de dependencia, deberá facilitar una existencia autónoma en su medio habitual y […]

Ley 20.535

Extiende el permiso a los padres contemplado en el artículo 199 bis, la persona que tenga a su cuidado personal, o sea cuidador de un menor con discapacidad debidamente inscrito en el Registro Nacional de la Discapacidad, o menor de 6 años, con el diagnóstico del médico tratante. También se extiende el permiso en caso […]

Ley 7.853

Proporciona apoyo para las personas con discapacidad, su integración social a través del CORDE (Coordinación Nacional para la Integración de Personas con Discapacidad).

Ley 22.431 De Protección Integral para los discapacitados.

Crea un sistema de protección integral de las personas discapacitadas, tendiente a asegurar a éstas su atención médica, su educación y su seguridad social, así como a concederles las franquicias y estímulos que permitan, en lo posible neutralizar la desventaja, que la discapacidad les provoca y les den oportunidad, mediante su esfuerzo, de desempeñar en […]

Ley 24.716 Licencia para trabajadoras madres de hijos con síndrome de down

En el artículo 1 se establece que el nacimiento de un hijo con Síndrome de Down otorgará a la madre trabajadora en relación de dependencia el derecho a seis meses de licencia sin goce de sueldo desde la fecha del vencimiento del período de prohibición de trabajo por maternidad. En el artículo 2 se estipula […]

Ley I – n° 132 Régimen de licencia con goce íntegro de haberes por hijo con discapacidad.

El artículo 1 establece un régimen de licencia especial de hasta ciento ochenta (180) días con goce íntegro de haberes por hijo con discapacidad, en los términos del Artículo 2 de la Ley XIX – N° 23 (antes Ley 2707).

Legal Cases

Persons with Disabilities’ Right to Self-Determination in Bulgaria

Nature of the Case A Bulgarian individual challenged his indefinite and involuntary placement under partial guardianship and in a remote psychiatric institute, in degrading conditions. Summary Rusi Kosev Stanev was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1975 and declared unfit to work in 1990. In 2000, following a request from his stepmother and half-sister, a court declared […]

Access to abortion for poor, disabled woman amid conscientious objection in Argentina

Summary: The communication was filed by the mother of a woman with a mental impairment amounting to a legal age of a child, concerning the response of public health and judicial institutions to her pregnancy resulting from rape.  After being refused by one hospital, a second hospital scheduled an abortion but was later blocked by […]

Educational opportunities for persons with disabilities in Colombia

Summary: The case was brought before the Constitutional Court of Colombia by the mother of a girl who was diagnosed with cognitive deficit and microcephaly. She contended that the official combined programme of therapy and special education were unaffordable to her. The Court referred to Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and […]

Resources

Universal Old Age and Disability Pensions

Despite being one of the youngest and poorest countries of the region, Timor-Leste has offered a universal social pension to its senior citizens and persons with disabilities since 2008. Almost all persons above 60 years and about one in five persons with disabilities participate in the scheme. The pensions support the well-being of beneficiaries and […]

Making Public Works Inclusive

The video provides insight into the pilot project “Making Public Works Inclusive” implemented in 2016 in Dedza District in Malawi´s Central Region. The video explains the approach the pilot has taken on including persons with disabilities in Malawi´s national Public Works Programme. Central and district level stakeholders as well as beneficiaries of the pilot are […]

WWDA Human Rights Toolkit for Women and Girls with Disability

Over two million women and girls with disability live in Australia – that’s approximately 20 percent of all women and girls. Like everyone else, we all have different lives and experiences. We also have different personal experiences of disability. As a group, however, women and girls with disability experience unfair treatment in many areas of our […]

World Report on Disability

This report focuses on measures to improve accessibility and equality of opportunity; promoting participation and inclusion; and increasing respect for the autonomy and dignity of persons with disabilities. Chapter 1 defines terms such as disability, discusses prevention and its ethical considerations, introduces the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and the CRPD, and […]

Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities have faced exclusionpreventing them from fully enjoying their right to social protection under the previous welfarist model. In this video, Facundo Chavez Penillas from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) discusses states’ obligation to ensure that social protection systems are fully inclusive of persons with disabilities.

Disability and Social Protection Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A systematic review

This paper systematically reviews the evidence on whether persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries are adequately included in social protection programmes, and assesses the financial and non-financial impacts of participation. Overall, we found that access to social protection appears to fall far below need. Benefits from participation are mostly limited to maintaining minimum […]

Report on the Right of Persons with Disabilities to Social Protection (A/70/297), submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, provides a study focusing on disability-inclusive social protection as a prerequisite for the universalization of social protection. She stresses that social protection is fundamental for achieving the social inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities, and promoting their active citizenship. She also argues that to […]

Disability in the Arab Region. An Overview

Disability is an intrinsic aspect of the human condition and most people will experience disability at some point in their lives. Globally, one billion people—or 15 per cent of the world population—are estimated to be living with disability. By contrast, Arab countries report comparatively low prevalence of disability, ranging from 0.4 to 4.9 per cent […]

Inclusive Social Protection Toolbox (GIZ)

Persons with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else to protection from basic social and economic risks and to access appropriate services, regardless of their disability or gender. This website helps give you the tools to design inclusive social protection systems.

CESCR General Comment No. 5: Persons with disabilities

This general comment was adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1995. With regard to social security, it sets out the following: “28. Social security and income‑maintenance schemes are of particular importance for persons with disabilities. As stated in the Standard Rules, “States should ensure the provision of adequate income support to persons with […]

News

Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Presents Report to the General Assembly

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas, presented her first report in September at the 70th session of the General Assembly.  The report aims to provide guidance and recommendations to states and other responsible actors for creating disability-inclusive social protection systems. The report touches on key issues related to providing […]

International expert meeting on the right of persons with disabilities to social protection

Access to social security is a crucial element of inclusive societies. For persons living with disabilities, it plays an especially important role in providing an adequate standard of living and basic income security, thereby reducing vulnerability and levels of poverty. This expert meeting held in Berlin on 20 May 2015, brought together policy makers, researchers, […]