Disability Law | Highlights and principles

The General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion ( RD Leg 1/2013 ) is one of the pillars of Spanish social policy. It was approved in response to the established restrictions that certain exclusion conditions entailed.

Although the equality, freedom and dignity of people are fundamental principles of our legal system, the public powers are not always up to their duty to eliminate barriers that impede their fullness.

Therefore, in this article,  we are going to learn about the Disability Law in depth to help people with disabilities. This is the first step to be able to demand the fulfillment of these rights.

General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

As we have noted, the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter LGDPD) is established on the basis of accessibility. It recognizes that certain obstacles restrict the freedom, equality and dignity of people. And consequently, it proposes measures to overcome these obstacles .

Accessibility aims for the design and use of spaces and services to take into account the specific needs of all people. By removing these barriers , equal opportunities are promoted. And, more importantly, the segregationist schemes that people with functional diversity have suffered are broken .

Normative tradition on the matter

Accessibility and social integration have been an objective of the legislator since Law 13/1982 was approved . It deployed a series of technical and economic aids, as well as principles of health, education and employment .

These principles were the inspiration for the reforms of 2003 ( Law 51/2003 ) and 2007 ( Law 27/2007 ), which tried to strengthen the principle of universal accessibility and defense against discrimination. It is not surprising that our legal system cares about the matter, if we take into account that:

  • The legal and material equality are undeniably relevant rights, enshrined in Articles 9 and 14 of our Constitution  .
  • These rights are widely recognized and protected by international agreements, including the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN), ratified by Spain in 2007.

Precisely, the ratification of the Convention has promoted the latest reforms, which continue to work in line with the previous legislation.

The reality regarding disability

However, this normative plan is not always projected into reality. We can find from inaccessible sidewalks to public buildings without adapted toilets. And there are still institutions where they do not have sign language interpreters or institutional web pages without adaptations for their visualization.

For this reason, it is important to know the Disability Law, in order to claim the rights of people with disabilities. Regulatory progress and information will undoubtedly lead to a more egalitarian and accessible society.

People protected by the LGDPD

The LGDPD protects people with disabilities. Its objective is to eliminate the barriers that prevent them from developing their daily lives under the same conditions as any other person.

Therefore, the protected group is determined in article 4 of the LGPD as:

  • People who present permanent physical, mental, intellectual or sensory deficiencies that prevent them from fully and effectively participating in society by interacting with various barriers.
  • People who have a recognized degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%. In this sense, pensioners are counted by Social Security for permanent disability in degree of total, absolute and great disability. Also pensioners for passive classes with a retirement pension or retirement due to permanent disability for service or uselessness.

LGDPD Outstanding Principles

The principles on which the rights of persons with disabilities are defended are:

  • Dignity.
  • Autonomy.
  • Independence.
  • Nondiscrimination.
  • Equal opportunities and gender.
  • Standardization.
  • Universal accessibility.
  • Design for everyone.
  • Participation and social inclusion.
  • Civil dialogue.
  • Respect for life and personality.

To enforce these principles, the law establishes two types of measures:

  • In a positive sense, it recognizes rights enforceable by people with disabilities.
  • In a negative sense, it identifies infractions and sanctions for those who do not respect the rights of people with disabilities.

At present, the full equality of persons with disabilities is not yet fully guaranteed . Cuideo  defends the need to know the law in order to guarantee the safety, dignity, health and well-being of users with a degree of disability.

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