UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
The legal reform made by the Law 8/2021, of June 2, declared the end to civil death, the incapacitation of people with disabilities, based on substitution rather than accompaniment. However, this reform is due to the provisions of the 2006 UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. UN Convention has been the most relevant piece of legislation for people with disabilities and the respect to their fundamental human rights.
It is an international Convention whose addressees are the Member States, so it is part of the Spanish legal system and its interpretation must be in accordance with human rights and our ratified international agreements and treaties. Spain ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol on 3 May 2008, and since then it has been binding within the State.
Until the Convention, people with disabilities were completely invisible and there were no legally binding instruments that they could use to assert their most basic rights.
The Convention is, in reality, a treaty against discrimination against people with disabilities that aims to guarantee their equality, non-discrimination, self-determination and universal accessibility. It did not create new rights, but rather laid the foundation for promoting the dignity of people with disabilities by protecting and ensuring the full enjoyment of all their human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis. The fundamental value established by the Convention is human dignity: people with disabilities are inexcusable holders of human rights and always have been.
Among the obligations of States Parties, as set out in Article 4 of the Convention, is the adoption of all appropriate measures to give effect to the rights recognised in the Convention, including the amendment or repeal of existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities. That is, upon ratification of the Convention, States Parties were required to adopt appropriate measures for the effective enjoyment of human rights by people with disabilities, as the Convention is a directly applicable and binding legal tool.
With the ratification of the Convention, the aim was therefore to change the way disability is dealt with, and a comprehensive monitoring system was established to monitor the situation of people with disabilities by issuing reports by the signatory states, including the measures taken to fulfil the obligations of the Convention and the progress made. These reports are reviewed by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is responsible for making the appropriate suggestions and recommendations. In relation to Spain, it is worth highlighting two opinions approved by the Committee: one on the right to non-discrimination in the maintenance or continuity of employment of a civil servant, the other on the right to inclusive education of a pupil.
Finally, it should be noted that there is an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which develops the conditions for the filing of a complaint or denunciation before the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including by an individual.
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