Good example from the Czech Republic: Alternative Report for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The report contains the views of a wide platform of DPOs, NGOs representing persons with disabilities and other organisations or individuals working with people with disabilities. This report covers the main areas of life of people with disabilities that are affected by legislation or practices that violate the respective articles of the Convention. Some crucial recommendations for the Czech Republic that emerge from the report are:

  • Adopt the definition of discrimination which is in line with the wording of the Convention: Under the Anti-discrimination Code, the definition of reasonable accommodation is limited to employment issues and does not reflect wide understanding of this core disability rights principle, as was introduced by the CRPD. The Czech Republic should amend the Anti-discrimination Code to implement the principle of equality as understood by the CRPD.
  • Abandon the guardianship system and introduce a system of supported decision-making: The current system of protection of people with mental disabilities is based on a traditional substitute decision-making model. People under plenary guardianship are legally “dead” and are therefore denied the most basic human rights, such as the right of access to justice, theright to enjoy and inherit property, the right to marry, the right to vote, etc. Although a new Civil Code, currently being discussed before Parliament does recognise supported decision making principles; the draft provisions still include the restriction of legal capacity. The draft of the Civil Code also introduced an old fashion terminology for legal capacity (“svéprávnost”) which is considered unacceptable by people with disabilities themselves because it holds negative connotations.
  • Promote the right to community living: The process of de-institutionalisation has begun inthe Czech Republic and some progress has been made. However, the government must actively develop alternative community-based services to stop any new admissions of children into residential institutions and allow adults with disabilities to make a real choice about their lives. Current policies are limited in scope and target exclusively persons with intellectual disabilities, other groups. i.e. persons with Alzheimer’s disease or psychosocial disabilities still face massive institutionalisation. To offer real alternative community-based services the government must invest in new types of services. In addition, substitute care for children with disabilities should be promoted to prevent them from institutionalisation. Staff of the residential institutions should receive appropriate life-long-learning education and transitional programmes to support autonomy and foster self-care among people who have lived in institutions should be developed at a larger scale.
  • Reform the system of involuntary hospitalizations. The Czech Republic should reform its health laws so that the law does not provide for deprivation of liberty based on disability. The reform which is currently being discussed under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice must be regarded as a first step because it addresses only major human rights problems and does not address the core of the problem. Therefore the Czech Republic must assure the Committee that the reform will continue.
  • Education for all: Inclusive Education is a myth rather than a reality in the Czech Republic. Statistical data show that the majority of children with disabilities are still educated in special schools. Although improvements can be found they do not apply equally to all children and young people with disabilities, and children with intellectual disabilities particularly rarely benefit from integrated education. Inclusive education should be adopted as a principle in education legislation and children with special educational needs should benefit from individual support and reasonable accommodation, including financing on the basis of their needs and not on the basis of their disability.
  • The right to work should be fulfilled. The state should guarantee that persons with disabilities are not excluded from the labour market. The Czech Republic should support employers to ensure that employment of persons with disabilities does not mean an inadequate burden for them. The Labour Law should recognise a specific category of disadvantaged persons with disabilities.
  • Participation of people with disabilities in society and in all matters that affect them: The lack of provisions to implement article 33 CRPD shows the lack of coordination and transparency in the cooperation between government bodies. Mainstreaming disability issues to ensure that people with disabilities are included in all programmes and policies throughout all the relevant sectors needs to be established. It is also crucial to work with families at all ages of the children according to their development. The government should support advocacy and self-advocacy movements to support the citizenship of people with disabilities, who are denied equal participation in society and in matters affecting them.
Czech Republic: Alternative Report for the UN Committee862.6 KB
Cover letter73.85 KB