The Government plans to approve this Friday in the Council of Ministers the draft reform of Article 49 of the Constitution to eliminate the term diminished and provide greater protection for the rights of persons with disabilities. The approval was advanced this week by the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Equality after the meeting that its holder and vice president of the Executive, Carmen Calvo, and the Minister of Health, María Luisa Carcedo, maintained with the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). The collective has been demanding this change for years.
Article 49 of the Constitution currently establishes that the public authorities "shall carry out a policy of forecasting, treatment, rehabilitation and integration of the physically, sensory and psychic handicapped persons". The proposed reform will eliminate the word diminished to refer to people with disabilities.
The drafting of the new constitutional text has been made at the Government's initiative based on the proposal of the commission for comprehensive disability policies of the Congress of Deputies – which agreed to the new text – and had the participation of the group of people with disabilities, represented by CERMI, as detailed by the Government this week in a statement.
The reform will expressly state that people with disabilities will enjoy their rights under conditions of freedom and equality without discrimination. In addition, it is expected that public authorities develop policies aimed at achieving their personal autonomy and social inclusion. It also recognizes, expressly and for the first time, the particular protection required by women and girls with disabilities, as it is a particularly vulnerable and discriminated group, according to the Government's note.
With this change, which will have to be approved in the Congress of Deputies, Article 49 is updated to adapt to the 2006 Convention. It is completely rewritten and goes from being a succinct text to a more extensive text, with the intention of specifying and guaranteeing much more the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.