A milestone in the respect for the rights of persons with disabilities in France

A milestone in the respect for the rights of persons with disabilities in France

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By Albert Prévos

Translated by André Félix

On the 9th July, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the right to vote for persons with disabilities under guardianship will no longer need to be decided by a judge.

The President announced the measure during a meeting of the Congress of the French Parliament – which brings together all the representatives from the General Assembly and the Senate – in Versailles. He stated:

We will assume this policy of return of full citizenship and (..) for these people, including those under guardianship, we will return the right to vote.

This announcement is the culmination of a long period of advocacy by the French disability movement. Persons with disabilities under guardianship will finally see their dignity as full citizens re-established, and France will advance its implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We cannot, on one side, affirm that persons with disabilities are citizens equal to others and, on the other side, deny them the most emblematic attribute of citizenship.

More than 350.000 persons in France will be impacted by this measure. Now, this announcement needs to become reality, and the French legislation needs to conform with this political decision. This includes a reform of the French Electoral Code, which will not be simple.

However, it would be extremely symbolic if the European Elections of 2019 could already benefit from this change, a change that needs to be accompanied by measures that guarantee full accessibility of electoral procedures and election campaigns.