UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Spain (CRPD 13-05-2019)

The Committee considered the combined second and third periodic reports of Spain (CRPD/C/ESP/2-3) at its 445th and 446th meetings (see CRPD/C/SR.445 and 446), held on 18 and 19 March 2019. It adopted the present concluding observations at its 463rd meeting, held on 29 March 2019.

Concluding observations

A. General principles and obligations (arts. 1–4)

  1. The Committee is concerned that several national, regional and municipal laws and policies, particularly the revised text of the general act on the rights of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion (2013) and the Personal Autonomy Promotion Act (2006), are not compliant with the Convention or the human rights model of disability. It is concerned that this lack of compliance results in reliance on the medical model of disability, through which persons are categorized on the basis of diagnosis and excluded from the broad scope provided in the Convention, according to which disabilities are recognized in relation to impairments and barriers in the social environment, especially with regard to psychosocial disabilities. The Committee is also concerned about:

(a) The predominance of a paternalistic approach and the lack of human rights-based provisions within mental health systems, and the lack of explicit strategies aimed at ensuring that persons with disabilities are protected from discrimination and ill-treatment;

(b) The lack of progress to implement the recommendation made by the Committee in its previous concluding observations (CRPD/C/ESP/CO/1, para. 18) to abolish legal provisions that reinforce a negative perception of disability by allowing the late termination of pregnancy based on fetal impairment, and the lack of progress to abolish legislative initiatives aimed at allowing euthanasia in cases of disability;

(c) The limited progress in ensuring the equal and full involvement and participation of persons with disabilities through their representative organizations in all matters that concern them, including the formulation of public policies and laws;

(d) The lack of training for professionals in fields such as education, health and the judiciary to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities and the standards enshrined in the Convention.

  1. The Committee recommends that the State party review and amend all laws, policies and practices relating to the provision of services for persons with disabilities at all levels and across all autonomous communities, in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Convention and in line with the human rights model of disability. The Committee also recommends that the State party:

(a) Design and implement a policy with a focus on ensuring full respect for the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly psychosocial disabilities, including by ensuring that human rights-based provisions are applied in mental health systems;

(b) Abolish any distinction made in law to the period within which a pregnancy can be terminated based on a potential fetal impairment, and ensure that there are no provisions in place to allow euthanasia on the grounds of disability, as such provisions contribute to the stigmatization of disability, which can lead to discrimination;

(c) Ensure the continued involvement of and meaningful consultation with various organizations of persons with disabilities, including but not limited to those representing women, children, refugees and asylum seekers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, persons with psychosocial disabilities or with intellectual, hearing or visual impairments, persons living in rural areas and persons in need of high levels of support, in the designing and amending of new and current laws, policies and programmes to ensure their compliance with the Convention, in line with the Committee’s general comment No. 7 (2018) on the participation of persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations, in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention;

(d) Continue to provide professionals, including judges and law enforcement officials, health-care professionals, teachers and all personnel working with persons with disabilities, with training to raise their awareness of the rights enshrined in the Convention.

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