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“To achieve equal citizenship for persons with disabilities, France needs to end segregation and move towards inclusive services and support in the community”, UN disability rights expert Catalina Devandas has said.
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities made her first official visit to France on October 3-13th. During the visit, Ms Devandas assessed the situation of persons with disabilities in the country regarding topics such as community-based living and legal capacity.
According to the Special Rapporteur, “while [France] invests significant resources to address inequalities faced by people with disabilities, efforts in this area are highly […] segregated.”
“People with disabilities have the right to live in their communities”
Ms Devandas expressed serious concern about the high number of French people with disabilities living in residential institutions – at least 300,000 in France itself and another 6,500 in Belgium, including 1,500 children.
“People with disabilities, including those with high support needs, have the right to live in their communities, to choose their place of residence and with whom they live,” she emphasized.
The Special Rapporteur urged the French government to close all institutions as soon as possible and switch to community-based support, including adequate housing. Moving children out of institutions should be a political priority, she added, and the government should consider a moratorium on new admissions.
Some children with disabilities receive no education at all
Also on the subject of children with disabilities, Ms. Devandas recognized France’s work to include them in mainstream schools, but said the system would need a significant transformation to achieve inclusive education for all. Most children in residential institutions did not receive quality education, while others received no education at all, she noted.
“France is a country with a strong tradition of republican and democratic values, resting on the ideals of ‘freedom, equality and fraternity’. Disability policies in France need to embrace these ideals to guarantee the full inclusion of all people with disabilities in society, endowing them with more opportunities to live the lives they choose to live.
“Full citizenship won’t be a reality until some 750,000 people with disabilities who are under guardianship or tutorship in France, many of whom are deprived of their right to vote, have their legal capacity restored”, she added.
“France needs to carefully revise and transform its system”
Ms. Devandas also noted that autistic people and those with psychosocial disabilities are systematically hospitalized or receive psychiatric treatment without consent. She reminded the government that deprivation of legal capacity and any type of involuntary treatment are contrary to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The UN Special Rapporteur will present a report on the main findings of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.
Click on a word which is in bold to read what it means.
France needs to make things equal for people with disabilities
and to end people having to live in institutions.
This is what Catalina Devandas has said.
Catalina Devandas is a United Nations Disability Rights Expert.
Catalina Devandas visited France in October.
While she was in France Ms. Devandas was looking at how
people with disabilities in France live.
She was looking at things such as
independent living and legal capacity.
Ms. Devandas said that France uses lots of money
to try and make things equal for people with disabilities.
But France does some things for people with disabilities
in some parts of the country
and other things in other parts of the country.
This is bad for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities should get the same help
everywhere in France.
Ms. Devandas also has talked about how bad it is
that so many French people with disabilities
are living in institutions.
There are lots of French people with disabilities
living in institutions in France and in Belgium.
There are also lots of children with disabilities living in institutions.
Ms. Devandas said that people with disabilities
need to have the right to live independently and choose
where they live and who they live with.
They should also have this right if they have high support needs.
Ms. Devandas said that the French government needs to
close down all institutions.
France should try to help people live in the community.
This includes helping children not have to live in institutions.
Ms. Devandas also talked about the topic of children with disabilities.
She said that the French government is trying to make sure
that children with disabilities learn together at school
with children without disabilities.
Even though the government is trying to include children with disabilities
she said the system still needed to be changed.
The system still needs to be changed
because some children with disabilities do not get a good education.
And some do not get an education at all.
Ms. Devandas said that France needs to help with equality for everyone
because equality is something which France says is important.
She said that France needs to focus on equality
for people with disabilities.
Ms. Devandas said that people with disabilities
cannot be equal under guardianship.
She also said that people with disabilities
need full legal capacity to be equal.
There are lot of people with disabilities in France
who do not have full legal capacity.
Ms. Devandas also talked about how people with autism
and other disabilities are often put in hospital.
In hospital they receive treatment
even if they do not want this.
This is not right.
Ms. Devandas said that when France treats people this way,
this is against the UN CRPD.
It is also against the UN CRPD
when people with disabilities do not get full legal capacity.
In 2019, Ms. Devandas will present more of what she discovered
during her visit.
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