The Council of Europe recently adopted a recommendation on the participation of persons with disabilities in political and public life. The recommendation issued is particularly important as it builds upon the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, calling for European governments to ‘ensure that their legislation overall does not discriminate against persons with disabilities in political and public life’. All adult citizens with disabilities should have the right to vote, the recommendation says, adding that laws should be ‘devoid’ of discriminatory provisions. It specifies that all ‘persons with disabilities, whether they have physical, sensory, or intellectual impairments, mental health problems or chronic illnesses, have the right to vote on the same basis as other citizens, and should not be deprived of this right by any law limiting their legal capacity, by any judicial or other decision or by any other measure based on their disability, cognitive functioning or perceived capacity.’
Recommendations made by the Council of Europe are not legally-binding, but carry significant political weight as they are adopted by consensus by all 47 Member States. The European Court of Human Rights often cites the Council of Europe’s recommendations in its judgments.
View the recommendation