Peru gives legal capacity back to young people with Down syndrome

Karin Liza met our member, Sociedad Peruana de Síndrome Down (SPSD), in 2012. With their help, she realized she was under guardianship, and all her rights had been taken away. Since then, Karin and her mother have been trying to change this.

Karin’s Story

Karin was not able to act independently. Being under guardianship took all of her rights away. She could not sign her first job contract by herself, collect her own salary and she also was not allowed to vote. She said: “I felt like wearing a straightjacket.

When Karin joined Sociedad Peruana de Sindrome Down (SPSD), she and her mother realized that being a young woman with Down syndrome should not mean giving up her independence. She should have the right to make her own decisions.

A new law in Peru gave back legal capacity to all persons with disabilities, replacing guardianship for supported decision-making processes.

Karin Liza became the first young woman with intellectual disability in Peru to ask for the her rights back. With the support of SPSD and a legal team, she asked the court to review her case under the new law because she wanted to be considered equal as other citizens by law.

In October 2019 she was recognized as an autonomous person. She won so she is now allowed to make her own decisions and to vote!

Bigger Impact

On 3 December 2019, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities,  Karin Liza was invited to Open Society Foundation offices in New York to share her experience. She talked about her role in the law change in Peru.

Peru law used to be too protective and controlling of people with intellectually disabilities. Now it is more supportive of independence and supports people to make their own decisions.

Our right to make our own decisions, with the supports and safeguards we may need, is important.

Karin’s success story is very motivating so it could inspire other people with intellectual disabilities and their families to stand up for their right to control their own lives.