HIV is a disability under German anti-discrimination law

Érdekes, hogy úgy is a munkavállaló javára döntött a német legfelső bíróság, hogy valamennyire még megalapozott is volt a felmondás, elvégre egy gyógyszergyártó laboratóriumban nem alaptalan elvárás, hogy fertőző betegek ne dolgozzanak ott, ezért egyáltalán az is kétséges, tudott volna-e a munkáltató alkalmazkodni akkor is, ha mindent meg akarna tenni.

It is interesting to see that the German Supreme Court actually decided in favor of the employer, in a case where the termination of his job contract was somewhat reasonable. As for a pharmaceutical company, it is not an unrealistic expectation towards their employees to be without an infectious disease. And even if the employer would be ready to to anything to help the employee in keeping his job, it is doubtful that there is a possible solution.

February 01, 2014

Ábel Gergő Kaszián, dr.

An HIV-positive employee without symptoms does have a disability and can claim disability discrimination under The German Equal Treatment Act, the German Supreme Court held.

When an employer terminates the employment of such an employee because of the employee’s HIV infection, the dismissal is, as a general rule, discriminatory and thus invalid if the employer could have made it possible for the employee to perform his or her work, despite the disability, by implementing reasonable precautionary measures.

Ultimately, the judges ruled that the dismissal of the employee was a direct discrimination based on his disability. It was unclear, however, whether it was nonetheless justifiable. The previous instance decision, in the Berlin-Brandenburg Regional Labor Court, would thus still have to rule on whether the pharmaceutical company could have made it possible for the employee to perform his work as a laboratory technician in a “clean room” by implementing reasonable precautionary measures, despite the company’s internal rules prohibiting employment in case of an individual’s infectious disease.

The German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, AGG) provides protection against discrimination based on disability. Not only people whose (severe) disability is officially recognized have disabilities in terms of the General Equal Treatment Act, but  people are also deemed to have disabilities if “their physical functions, mental capacities or psychological health are highly likely to deviate for more than six months from the condition that is typical for the respective age” and if their “participation in the life of society is therefore restricted.” Therefore, employees’ chronic illnesses can lead to disabilities and dismissal of a chronically ill employee can constitute discrimination based on a disability.

Because the general protection against dismissal provided for under Sec. 1 of the Act on Protection Against Unfair Dismissal (Kündigungsschutzgesetz, KSchG) does not apply until the employment has existed for six months (so-called “waiting period”), an employer does not have to substantiate or justify its decision to terminate during this period of time. A dismissal during this period may, however, be invalid because it violates the General Equal Treatment Act if it discriminates against the employee, for example, because of a disability. The technician, therefore, claimed, that he had a disability and that the notice was thus invalid because it constituted discrimination against him because of his disability.

(German Federal Labor Court decision of December 19, 2013, case 6 AZR 190/12)

Source: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=030822c7-be6c-4c5c-8814-7fb6152ce9d4 Christopher Jordan, Anke Kuhn

Personalisation was supposed to empower vulnerable citizens. It failed.

Self-directed support should have improved adult social care, but the movement I founded became the new bureaucracy 

One of the big ideas that is at the heart of reforming health and social care is personalisation. At its simplest this means moving away from standardised services, towards a flexible system where people have more control and play a bigger part in their community. It can also be more efficient, as people create solutions built around their own lives.

These ideas have been a big part of my life. Since 1990 I have been working on self-directed support, a system to give disabled people, especially people with learning disabilities, more control over their support, without having to employ staff or manage cash. This includes the concept of a personal budget, where people are told their entitlement up-front, so they can decide how to manage and spend it.

 Between 2003 to 2009 I ran In Control and developed these ideas in England. At the beginning some local government leaders found these ideas really exciting and we worked together to test and implement them. In some areas, like Barnsley, there has been a concerted effort to implement these ideas carefully and intelligently. Today personal budgets are the norm and there are few big services left to commission. The focus is shifting to strengthening citizenship and local community action.

But other places have found these same ideas very challenging. From 2007, when central government made personalisation mandatory, progress has been patchy and in some places things seem to be getting worse, not better. Personally I found the whole process very frustrating and so I left In Control in 2009 in order to work more independently of government. In particular there have been three negative reactions to personalisation.

Some have effectively rejected it. For instance, one lady told me of how she and her husband (who had a severe stroke and was physically disabled) were “given a personal budget”. They were asked some questions, told their budget and then told that they would be getting the cash directly and should find help by putting an advert in the local newsagents. No effort was made to help them think through their options or to provide proper assistance. Here personalisation has become an excuse for abandonment.

Others do embrace personalisation, but in a way that is confused and poorly thought-through. Social workers rightly complain that they must complete new forms, on top of the old ones. Citizens are told their budget, but then encouraged to let the local authority “manage it”. Complex systems of support planning, panels and monitoring are put in place. Here personalisation has become the new bureaucracy.

 Some just see personalisation as a tool for cutting budgets. Social care is in the midst of a 33% cut in funding from central government, so it is not surprising that every effort is made to reduce spending on individuals. For instance Nadia, one of the Centre’s fellows, who has complex impairments, but is a very active citizen, has been put through a “resource allocation system” that seems quite insensitive to the reality of her needs. Here personalisation has become an excuse to cut costs.

 Local leaders will need to take stock. The idea of creating a new alliance with local citizens, building solutions together and moving away from institutional services will not go away. But there will need to be a stronger focus on people’s rights and many of the current bureaucratic systems will need to be dismantled. In the face of increasing centralisation, local government must learn to stand up for itself and for its citizens. This is a challenge local government can meet – they have before – and they can again.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/jan/30/personalisation-social-care-support-bureaucracy-service-failure Simon Duffy 01.30.2014

Workers With Disabilities Left Out Of Obama Wage Plan

Advocates are crying foul after learning that many individuals with disabilities will likely be left out of President Barack Obama’s plan to hike the minimum wage for federal contractors.

Obama said in his State of the Union address earlier this week that he will issue an executive order mandating that federal contractors pay their workers no less than $10.10 per hour.

“In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty,” Obama said.

But now advocates say they are being told that the plan excludes people with disabilities who currently earn less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

Employers — including many with federal government contracts — can obtain special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay those with disabilities less than minimum wage under a provision that’s been in place since the 1930s. Many disability advocacy groups have urged an end to the policy in recent years arguing that it is outdated and unfairly encourages segregation.

It’s unclear how many people earn less than minimum wage as employees of federal contractors, but the AbilityOne Program, which facilitates federal contracts for employers of those with disabilities, says that nearly 50,000 people with disabilities were employed through its programs in 2012, many of whom are believed to be working for subminimum wage.

In a call this week with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Vice President Joe Biden, disability advocates say they were told that the executive order would not alter the ability of approved federal contractors to continue paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage, though such workers could see a slight uptick in pay. That’s because subminimum wage is often calculated as a percentage of the pay that a typical worker would earn for the same job.

Now disability groups are uniting to ask Obama to reconsider.

“This may mean that a worker receiving pennies an hour today may receive a dime as a result of the executive order. Surely we can do better than this,” wrote Jeff Rosen, chairperson of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency tasked with advising Congress and the president on disability issues, in a letter to Perez and Obama.

Meanwhile, a separate letter to the administration organized by the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination has support from the Autism Society, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and TASH, among others.

“All employees of federal contractors should mean all employees, regardless of disability status,” the letter says.

White House officials declined to offer specifics about the executive order Obama will issue, but said that any changes to the current subminimum wage laws would require action from Congress. Further details about the executive order will be released “in the near future,” an administration spokesman said.

Advocates insist, however, that the president does have the authority to act unilaterally.

“We believe that if they president has the power to require government contractors to pay a higher wage for workers without disabilities that he can do the same for workers with disabilities,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Source: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/01/31/workers-disabilities-left-out/19068/ Michelle Diament

Evidence for effectiveness of disability employment plan lacking

Lawmakers and advocates agreed Monday that a state program aimed at increasing employment of Kansans with disabilities is good policy, but a report from an oversight commission says there is little evidence the program is working.

Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Disability Rights Center and a member of the oversight commission, submitted a report that said the state hasn’t provided enough measurable data to demonstrate the program’s success, and anecdotal reports from advocates “on the front lines” are mixed.

“By and large what they told us were there were good things happening but it’s really not an everyday reality,” Nichols said of the state law mandating that employment be one of the government’s top priorities for Kansans with disabilities.

Another member of the oversight commission, Michael Donnelly, submitted a minority report because he said he had “strong objections” to the report.

“In my view, the report focuses on opinions, hearsay, assumed and anecdotal information for which no effort was made to verify the factual basis for that feedback,” wrote Donnelly, who is director of rehabilitation services for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The commission’s main report suggests there was little data available other than anecdotes.

One of the report’s first recommendations is the state should “track data specifically detailing the numbers and percentages of Kansans with disabilities in competitive and integrated employment.”

Nichols said “competitive and integrated employment” means that Kansans with disabilities should be paid at comparable rates to other employees and not segregated from those other employees.

Other recommendations include supporting Kansans with disabilities who seek to start their own businesses, providing benefits planning and making the case to businesspeople that hiring Kansans with disabilities is good for business.

That message was delivered at Monday’s hearing by Cathy Butler, kitchen manager of McFarland’s restaurant in Topeka.

Butler told the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee that three of the restaurant’s 17 employees have disabilities and “they are the type of employees everybody wishes for.”

Specifically, Butler said the people with disabilities her business has hired are loyal, enthusiastic, show up on time and their work isn’t usually impeded by “things they have done the night before.”

Butler also got choked up after she told the committee about her brother, who has Down syndrome and works at a Dillons grocery store.

“We call these people with disabilities but these are just people who may need a little more help to do what we all do,” Butler said. “And they find such joy when they are able to get out and work.”

Robyn Herzog embodied that joy for the committee, telling the legislators over and over that she loves her job at Brandon Woods, an assisted living facility in Lawrence where she has worked for seven years.

“The best part about my job is the friends I made,” Herzog said. “The boys in the kitchen, Danny and Garrett, are like my brothers. They always help me when I’m not sure about something.”

The law promoting employment for Kansans with disabilities went into effect in July 2011. Nichols said 34 other states have followed suit since, but praised Kansas legislators for being “trailblazers.”

“Kansas was the first,” Nichols said. “We were the first to have a law on the books.”

Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, said it was work well done.

“It has obviously proven to be extremely beneficial to the disabled community and to the state of Kansas,” Suellentrop said.

Source: http://m.cjonline.com/news/2014-01-27/evidence-effectiveness-disability-employment-plan-lacking Andy Marso

Welfare State Madness

Another dubious record has been set during the Obama administration. As of the end of December, a staggering 10,988,269 Americans were receiving federal disability benefits, a number that exceeds the entire population of Greece. The December totals mark the 202nd straight month that the number of disabled workers in the nation has increased. Furthermore, according to the latest Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, “mental disorder” is the top “diagnostic group,” comprising 35.5 percent of all disabled beneficiaries. Within that category, “mood disorders” is the most prevalent affliction, at 14.1 percent.

Though it is the latest report released, the statistics compiled represent the disabled beneficiaries as of December 2012, when approximately 88,000 fewer Americans were receiving benefits. The overall number of disabled beneficiaries has nearly doubled since December 1995.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disabled worker as a “beneficiary who worked in covered employment long enough to be insured and who had been working recently in covered employment prior to disability onset.”

A spouse eligible for benefits must have a child under age 16 or a disabled child in his or her care, or be at least 62 years old. A divorced spouse is also eligible if the marriage lasted at least 10 years. 

As of December 2013, the average monthly benefit paid to a disabled worker also hit a record high of $1,146.43, as did the monthly payouts to spouses and children, reaching $308.13 and $341.42 respectively.

No doubt many Americans may wonder why the number of disabled is growing so rapidly. Many analysts contend it is due to a Baby Boomer generation that is now entering retirement and dealing with health problems associated with aging. On the other hand, Mark Duggan and Scott Imberman, disability researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research, have reached an entirely different conclusion. In a study, “Why Are the Disability Rolls Skyrocketing?” the authors reveal that aging accounted for the growth disability benefits in only 13 percent of male recipients and 4 percent of female recipients, with the relatively recent increase in women entering the workforce accounting for the discrepancy. The biggest driver of growth, at 45 percent for men, and 36 percent for women, was the relaxation of medical eligibility criteria. Relaxed criteria that has made it possible for otherwise able-bodied Americans to get a lifetime’s worth of government paychecks. 

Unsurprisingly, politics played the principal role in expanding the definition of “disabled.” In his last year as president, Jimmy Carter signed the Disability Amendments Act of 1980, encouraging stricter oversight of Social Security disability benefits. When Reagan assumed the presidency, he asked the SSA to step up enforcement of the law. As a result, one million Americans lost their benefits. The political backlash led to Congress unanimously passing the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984. The law instructed government to give an applicant’s self-assessment of a disability greater consideration, especially in the areas of pains and discomfort. It also allowed assessments by one’s own doctor to take the place of medical assessments made by the government, and it eased the screening criteria for some categories, including mental illness.

The effects were dramatic. Since subjective assessments by an applicant enabled many people to claim disability — while medical advances lowered the number of disabling medical conditions — disability benefits dramatically increased for people with musculoskeletal and mental disorders, even as benefits for those suffering from conditions such as cancer, strokes, or heart attacks remained constant.

Duggan and Imberman also charted the correlation between the number of disabled and the second biggest driver of growth, increased government payouts. The SSA pays out benefits based on what someone made while they were working, plus means testing. They noted that due to the expansion of income subject to Social Security taxes, and a growth of income dispersion, low-income Americans gain higher levels of disability payments relative to their previous income.

In addition, Americans who qualify for disability insurance via the Social Security program automatically qualify for Medicare after two years, regardless of age. Aaron Yelowitz of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the University of California published research indicating that “13 to 20 percent of the rise in SSI participation may be due to increases in the value of Medicaid.”  

Given these realities, it is unsurprising that disability claims have skyrocketed over the last three decades. Adding to the momentum, a report by National Pubic Radio’s (NPR) Chana Joffe-Walt paints a disturbing picture of what she calls a “disability-industrial complex.” It amounts to little more than members of the legal and medical professions dedicating themselves to getting as many Americans on disability as they possibly can.

The surge in disability recipients is also exacerbated by economic downturns. During the last three recessions, applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) have increased in conjunction with the unemployment rate. ”It’s primarily economic desperation,” said former Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue in 2011. “People on the margins who get bad news in terms of a layoff … have no other place to go and they take a shot at disability.”

NPR’s Joffe-Walt confirms that assessment, noting that “disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills.” This is due to the reality that the difference between a minimum wage job and disability payments is only $2000 per year, and the jobs probably don’t include health insurance. Thus she concludes that “disability may be a better option.” 

That option, absent a legitimate disability, amounts to gaming the system. An egregious example of gaming the system was recently uncovered in New York. More than 100 retired cops and firemen allegedly gamed the system out of $400 million in fraudulent disability claims dating back to 1988. Over half the claimants blamed 9/11 for a variety of mental ailments after being coached how to describe their symptoms by four individuals who oversaw the scheme. “Specifically they instructed them on how to intentionally fail memory tests, how to dress when they presented themselves and how to present their demeanor,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

They are hardly an anomaly. A report published by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations following an 18-month investigation reveals that in over a quarter of the cases they reviewed, evidence confirming disabilities was “insufficient, contradictory, or incomplete.” A 2011 internal investigation by the SSA revealed an almost identical error rate at 22 percent. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a medical doctor, reviewed 100 cases personally. “In about 75 percent of the cases I went through, people were not truly disabled,” he concluded. He further noted huge inconsistencies regarding how administrative judges reviewed evidence contending that “you could flip a coin for anybody that came before the Social Security commission for disability and get it right just as often as the judges.”

The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk contends that the rise in SSDI participation accounts for a reduction of almost one-third in the workforce participation rate between 2007 and 2001. He also implies that gaming the system is part of the equation. “Studies show that a significant number of workers who apply for disability benefits are not entirely disabled,” he writes. “They have medical conditions that qualify them for benefits, but under other circumstances they could work at some type of job. Given the option of receiving benefits, however, they take them.”

And once Americans begin taking disabled benefits, most never return to the labor force. As Sherk reveals, only 9 percent of SSDI recipients who quit the system do so because their health has improved to the point where they’re no longer eligible. As for people who voluntarily leave the system, a “Ticket-to-Work” program created in 1999 that allowed recipients to return to work — while keeping their health insurance — netted fewer than 1,400 claimants over the following seven years.

Given the rapid expansion of claimants and payouts, it should surprise no one that SSDI will run out of money by 2016. Thus, reforming the system would seem to be an urgent priority. Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, illuminates the reason why it will prove quite difficult for Congress to do so. “Do you want to be the member that has the quote, unquote, ‘disabled’ activists outside of your office protesting?” he asks. “It’s like any other program, you’ve got to be willing to stick your neck out and you’ve got to be willing to find people to go along.”

Another report, “How Some Legal, Medical and Judicial Professionals Abused Social Security Disability Programs for the Country’s Most Vulnerable: A Case Study of the Conn Law Firm,” may provide a great deal of impetus in that regard. Once again Sen. Coburn led the charge. ”In just two years, the Social Security Disability Trust Fund could be depleted,” he explained. “That means millions of disabled Americans will face benefit cuts while every American could see an increase in their payroll taxes. That is unacceptable. What is also outrageous…is how well-heeled and well-connected lawyers, doctors, and judges have gamed the system for their own benefit. Every bogus claim made on behalf of someone who is not truly disabled robs taxpayers and denies or delays benefits for someone who is truly disabled.”

That’s what the ”disability-industrial complex” is all about. Most Americans have no problem whatsoever helping the truly disabled, even as most Americans bristle at the thought of underwriting able-bodied frauds. 

A solution for the problem may be simpler than most people think. As columnist Jonah Goldberg notes, everyone in Great Britain receiving their version of a disability payment was recently asked to submit to a medical examination to confirm they were too disabled to work. A third of them simply dropped out of the program rather than be examined. More than half of those tested were found fit for work, and 25 percent were fit for some work. He suggested the United States do the same thing, believing the results “would be interesting too.” In a nation where “victimhood” has become a way of life, they might be fascinating.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/arnold-ahlert/welfare-state-madness/ 

EU ‘legally obliged’ to promote disability inclusion

As a signatory to the UN convention, the EU has a responsibility to ‘lead by example’ and promote disability inclusion both home and abroad, writes Luk Zelderloo.

The European association of service providers for persons with disabilities (EASPD), which represents over 10,000 social service providers for persons with disability in Europe, fully supports the call by the international disability and development consortium (IDDC) and MEPs Bart Staes, Michael Cashman, Filip Kaczmarek and Marian Harkin for all new EU development programmes to consider the impacts on persons with disabilities.

The United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UN CRPD), ratified by the EU and 24 of its 28 member states, aims to ensure that its parties “protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”.

Of particular interest to the IDDC initiative, article 32 clearly states that parties must ensure “that international cooperation, including international development programmes, be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities”.

In reality, one can wonder why disability has yet to be already considered in current EU development programmes given that the EU ratified the UN CRPD over three and a half years ago. This is even more surprising given the political commitment that can be found in the European disability strategy 2010-2020, which states that the EU and member states “should promote the rights of people with disabilities in their external action”.

The EU is the world’s leading donor giving over €50bn worth of development aid each year. It plays an important role in developing the infrastructure and the economies of many countries throughout the world.

The evolution of a European development policy that is inclusive and accessible to all will first and foremost help the lives of millions of people with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries to have equal access to their rights.

It will contribute to changing the minds of the political leaders in many of these countries to further take into account disability within their overall employment and social policy.

However, we cannot just stop here. If the EU is to promote the rights of persons with disability in its foreign development policy, then it must improve on its own implementation of the UN CRPD.

EASPD therefore calls the EU and member states to consider the impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in all of its policies. Especially in times of crisis and fiscal austerity, it is of utmost importance, and a legal duty, for the EU to uphold its obligations towards the rights of all citizens, including its most vulnerable.

We believe that social services play a key role in enabling persons with disability to gain access to their rights. This is recognised by the UN CRPD which argues that assistance services are guaranteed by the rights included in the convention.

As such, when taking into account the impact of a policy it is of the utmost importance to take into account the impact on social service providers.

The EU should lead by example to fully include the requirements of the convention in all its internal and external actions because it is legally obliged to do so.

More importantly, it should be done because it is an issue of human rights, and persons with disabilities are entitled to the same rights as every other person on this planet.

Source: http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/eu-legally-obliged-to-promote-disability-inclusion/#.UujnzNI1jDc Luk Zelderloo Luk Zelderloo is secretary general of the European association of service providers for persons with disabilities (EASPD)

For us, without us

One of the most inexplicable things about the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is the incredible perceived public pressure to introduce the bill in the next, and for this Lok Sabha, last, session of Parliament. Many of us who refused to join the clamour did so on the grounds that we did not know what changes had been made to the bill since its 2012 avatar (not to say that the 2012 draft was perfect) and that we feared for the worst. Judging by the copy of the bill that has been released, our fears were not unfounded.
The bill, which sets out to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), gets most things wrong — including the definition of persons with disabilities — and is sloppily drafted. Almost every principle of the UNCRPD, which India ratified without reservations, has either been diluted or violated outright by this bill — be it the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to independent living, the right to inclusive education or the right to political participation.

One of the most important rights the UNCRPD guarantees is that of full legal capacity to all persons with disabilities. At present in India, the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act (NTA), 2009, creates a presumption that persons with cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation or multiple disabilities require a guardian to function. The Mental Health Act, 1987, also provides for the appointment of a guardian for a person found to be “mentally ill” and incapable of handling their own assets.

The UNCRPD mandates that persons with disabilities have the right to be recognised as persons before the law, and enjoy the same legal capacity as others in all aspects of life. Neither of these mandates is reflected in the bill. Though persons with disabilities are granted the right to own or inherit property, control their financial affairs and obtain access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, there is no effective manner of realising these rights and no provision for safeguards whatsoever.

In any case, these provisions only apply to persons who have legal capacity, and there are exclusions to this, perhaps unprecedented in Indian law. There is no shift from substituted decision-making to supported decision-making. The “mentally ill” who are unable to take care of themselves or make legally binding decisions will have all decisions taken on their behalf by guardians. The position of persons governed under the NTA does not change at all. And then, more categories of persons with disabilities may have their legal capacity threatened. The bill creates the category of persons with “high support needs”. Any person with more than 40 per cent of a disability and who needs “intensive support, physical, psychological and otherwise,… for activities of daily living; independent and informed decision-making; accessing facilities and participating in all areas of life including education; employment; family and community life; and treatment and therapy” is included in this category — effectively all persons with over 40 per cent disabilities. An assessment board gets to take decisions on the nature of “support” to be given to these persons, with no obligation to consult the person concerned. The scope of “support” is not defined under the bill, which means it could include guardianship or even institutionalisation, neither of which are barred.

Undoubtedly, the bill opens up various opportunities — there are incentives for the private sector to accommodate persons with disabilities, and with that will come requirements for training the persons who are employed, sensitising other staff members and making workplaces accessible. These measures are beneficial to many. However, is it worth shutting the door on discussions in order to — quoting the Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health — “secure maximum rights for maximum people with disabilities; and lay to rest the original inclusive concern about all rights for all persons with disabilities”? One could possibly argue that other concerns could be addressed in the form of amendments at a later stage — but these amendments would be fragmented discussions, running contrary to the cross-disability movement that the drafting of the bill and the UNCRPD have come to symbolise. Like charity, inclusion starts from home.

For a flailing government trying its best to play to the gallery, enacting a “social welfare” legislation like the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is a marvellous opportunity. Something as serious as an all-encompassing legislation for all persons with all disabilities deserves more than to be reduced to a bullet point on an election poster.

Soruce: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/for-us-without-us/ Amba Salelkar  The writer is an advocate, and fellow, Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Chennai