Doc. 10675

19 September 2005

Equal rights and opportunities for the disabled and their integration in society

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Gardetto and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

In spite of the improvements achieved in Europe for promoting the autonomy and integration of the disabled, specifically Article 15 of the European Social Charter, they remain too often excluded, since they do not always have access on an equal footing to the fundamental liberties given to able-bodied persons: the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion, the right to decent housing, the right to education, the right to work, the right to personal and family privacy...etc.

As an example, freedom of movement can be mentioned, which is a daily concern for people suffering from a motor handicap: it is difficult for them to have access to some public places when the latter do not benefit from adequate equipment. As to the right to education, schooling for disabled children is not generalised: thousands of children are not registered in a classical teaching school nor in a specialised institution, which is in contradiction with Article 2 of the additional protocol n 1. Furthermore, as far as the respect of personal and family privacy is concerned, the freedom to have sexual intercourse is rarely recognised for the disabled either because of a physical handicap or because of a mental handicap which points to abuse. Thus, the disabled suffer from not being granted the same rights as anybody else.

The wording of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights seems not sufficient to guaranty those liberties to the disabled, therefore the law of the Convention does not allow autonomy and integration for the disabled.

In addition, the Human Rights Court judged that there is a discrimination which is contrary to the Convention  when, without objective and reasonable justification, the States do not apply a different treatment to persons in an appreciably different situation  (ECHR 6th of April 2000, case 34369/97). This is the case in particular for the imprisonment of disabled people, and also for compensation for the handicap itself: although compensation to the disabled by social benefits to help them pay for daily life is admitted, the compensation for the prejudice linked with birth when the handicap was foreseeable still remains legally in question.

It is so that  "equal treatment" generally does not offer a sufficient protection to victims of a handicap. Even worse, equal treatment can sometimes be unfavorable to them when they claim measures adapted to their situation. The right to a different treatment is also measured meanly, knowing on top of it that , according to the decision " Thlimmenos vs Greece", it can be waived if the State, as party, can avail itself of "objective and reasonable justifications" for not offering differentiated measures to persons being in  appreciably different  situations, such as in the case of a handicap ( Discrimination, handicap and ECHR  by Michel DUPUIS- Magazine Lamy Civil Law -September 2005).

Thus, it is necessary to question the effects of the statutes presently in force, specifically the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and its protocols, and the effects of the work already carried out by the Council of Europe bodies on the disabled, specifically the Recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly n 925, 1185 and 1592, and the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers R(92)6. We also need to question the legal, technical and financial measures, in particular the payment of a financial aid sufficient for covering the cost of a person helping at home (who can be necessary 24 hour a day), the cost of daily life and the equipping of the home according to the handicap, and all other measures – especially the practical ones- necessary for correcting existing deficiencies.

This is the reason why the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe needs to study the situation of the disabled, to propose all measures aiming at guaranteeing them equal rights and opportunities, and their real integration in society, and to make all recommendations and to draft all resolutions which would prove useful.

Signed 1:

GARDETTO, Jean-Charles, Monaco, EPP/CD

BARTUMEU CASSANY, Jaume, Andorra, SOC

CEBECİ, Erol Aslan, Turkey, EPP/CD

CILEVIČS, Boriss, Latvia, SOC

GORIS, Stef, Belgium, ALDE

GROSS, Andreas, Switzerland, SOC

HOLOVATY, Serhiy, Ukraine, ALDE

HUSEYNOV, Rafael, Azerbaijan, ALDE

JASKIERNIA, Jerzy, Poland, SOC

JOVAŠEVIĆ, Ljubiša, Serbia and Montenegro, EPP/CD

NAROCHNITSKAYA, Natalia, Russia, UEL

PAPADIMITRIOU, Elsa, Greece, EPP/CD

POURGOURIDES, Christos, Cyprus, EPP/CD

Van den BRANDE, Luc, Belgium, EPP/CD

WOHLWEND, Renate, Liechtenstein, EPPE/CD

ŽIŽIĆ, Zoran, Serbia and Montenegro, SOC


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group