In a groundbreaking draft General Comment, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has outlined its understanding of Article 12 on Legal Capacity. In its progressive approach to understanding the obligations CRPD Article 12 creates for Governments, it reflects what Inclusion International and its members have been calling for. This interpretation opens the doors for people with intellectual disabilities worldwide to benefit from support in decision-making, to realise their legal capacity and to be protected by appropriate safeguards.
Article 12 is about securing the right of people with disabilities to make decisions and to access supports as needed to act on those decisions. General Comments are principled comments drafted by the CRPD Committee used to interpret provisions in this international treaty.
People with intellectual disabilities are clear that without a voice they are powerless. The right to decide is about being able to get married, vote, control finances, choose where and with whom you live, how you spend your day, etc. This is a priority issue for people with intellectual disabilities, yet often they are denied the right to make decisions and have control in their lives. This draft General Comment affirms these rights and clarifies that the development of supported decision-making systems is a government responsibility.
The right to make decisions, is the focus of Inclusion International’s current global campaign, The Right to Decide.
This draft General Comment thus reflects what Inclusion International and its members have been calling for. It reconfirms the importance and value of the work of our national members in places like Mexico, India, Canada, Japan, or the European Union. Inclusion International supports its members to mount legal challenges, influence law reform or develop community-capacity through peer support and self-advocacy which is critical in making Article 12 real and meaningful in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Inclusion International welcomes the draft General Comment on Article 12 and applauds the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for providing a progressive interpretation of the CRPD.