In 1975, the “Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons” was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The Declaration is aimed at ensuring the protection of rights of disabled persons and “assisting disabled persons to develop their abilities in the most varied fields of activities and […] promoting their integration in normal life”. The document describes “disabled people” as “any person unable to ensure by himself or herself, wholly or partly, the necessities of a normal individual and/or social life as a result of deficiency, either congenital or not, in his physical or mental capabilities”. The Declaration proclaims the rights of persons with disabilities such as the right to receive special treatment for their special needs, the right to medical and psychological treatment, right to equal treatment in terms of residence, or the right to environment and living conditions as close as possible to those of the normal life of people of their age, when admission to specialized establishment is indispensable.
The Declaration states that all disabled persons shall enjoy all the rights set forth in the Declaration. These rights are to be granted to all disabled persons without any exception whatsoever and without distinction or discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, state of wealth, birth or any other situation.
Disabled persons have the inherent right to respect for their human dignity and have the same fundamental rights as their fellow-citizens of the same age. This implies first and foremost the right to enjoy a decent life, as normal and full as possible.
The Declaration also guarantees disabled persons the same civil and political rights as other human beings. Disabled persons are entitled to the measures designed to enable them to become as self-reliant as possible. Disabled persons also have the right to medical, psychological and functional treatment, including prosthetic and orthotic appliances, to medical and social rehabilitation, education, vocational training and rehabilitation, aid, counseling, placement services and other services which will enable them to develop their capabilities and skills to the maximum and will hasten the processes of their social integration or reintegration.
The Declaration gives disabled persons the right to economic and social security and to a decent level of living. Disabled persons have the right, according to their capabilities, to secure and retain employment or to engage in a useful, productive and remunerative occupation and to join trade unions. Disabled persons are also entitled to have their special needs taken into consideration at all stages of economic and social planning.
Disabled persons have the right to live with their families or with foster parents and to participate in all social, creative or recreational activities. The Declaration states that no disabled person shall be subjected, as far as his or her residence is concerned, to differential treatment other than that required by his or her condition or by the improvement which he or she may derive therefrom. If the stay of a disabled person in a specialized establishment is indispensable, the environment and living conditions therein shall be as close as possible to those of the normal life of a person of his or her age.
The Declaration also guarantees disabled persons protection against all exploitation, all regulations and all treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature. Disabled persons shall be able to avail themselves of qualified legal aid when such aid proves indispensable for the protection of their persons and property. If judicial proceedings are instituted against them, the legal procedure applied shall take their physical and mental condition fully into account. Organizations of disabled persons may be usefully consulted in all matters regarding the rights of disabled persons. The Declaration also states that disabled persons, their families and communities shall be fully informed, by all appropriate means, of the rights contained in the Declaration.