Rights of the mentally handicapped

Di Parlamento Europeo - 16 settembre 1992

Rights of the mentally handicapped


Resolution on the rights of the mentally handicapped

The European Parliament,

-having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons (UN Resolution 2856 (XXVI) of 20 December 1971),

-having regard to the Rome Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950,

-having regard to Council of Europe Resolution AP (84) 3 of 17 September 1984 on a coherent policy for the rehabilitation of disabled people,

-having regard to the petitions forwarded to the Committee on Petitions to date concerning the problems of mentally handicapped people,

-having regard to the Resolution of the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States within the Council of 21 December 1981 on the first action programme for the social integration of handicapped peopleOJ No. C 347, 31.12.1981, p. 1,

-having regard to the Council Recommendation of 24 July 1986 on the employment of disabled people in the CommunityOJ No. L 225, 12.8.1986, p. 43,

-having regard to the Council Resolution of 22 December 1986 on an action programme on employment growth - special provision of training for the disadvantaged and disabledOJ No. C 340, 31.12.1986, p. 2,

-having regard to the Council Decision of 18 April 1988 establishing a second Community action programme for disabled people (Helios)OJ No. L 104, 23.4.1988, p. 38,

-having regard to the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 4130/88 extending financial support for Greece (1984-1988) until 31 December 1991, which covers rehabilitation centres for the mentally handicappedOJ No. L 362, 30.12.1988, p. 1,

-having regard to the Council’s conclusions of 12 June 1989 on the employment of disabled people in the CommunityOJ No. C 173, 8.7.1989, p. 1,

-having regard to the conclusions of the Council and the Ministers of Education meeting within the Council of 14 May 1987 concerning a programme of European collaboration on the integration of handicapped children into ordinary schoolsOJ No. C 211, 8.8.1987, p. 1,

-having regard to the Council Decision of 18 December 1989 concerning the further development of the Handynet system in the context of the Helios programmeOJ No. L 393, 30.12.1989, p. 35,

-having regard to the Resolution of the Council and the Ministers of Education meeting within the Council of 31 May 1990 concerning integration of children and young people with disabilities into ordinary systems of educationOJ No. C 162, 3.7.1990, p. 2,

-having regard to its resolution of 26 May 1989 on the activities of the Committee on Petitions during the 1988-1989 parliamentary year and on the need to improve procedures for dealing with petitions addressed to the European ParliamentOJ No. C 158, 26.6.1989, p. 481,

-having regard to its resolution of 13 September 1990 on the Commission’s action programme relating to the implementation of the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights for workers - priorities for 1991-1992OJ No. C 260, 15.10.1990, p. 167,

-having regard to the report of the Committee on Petitions and the opinions of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens’ Rights and the Committee on Social Affairs, Employment and the Working Environment (A3-0231/92),

A.whereas the mentally handicapped are among the most disadvantaged groups in the European Community and in certain cases no adequate legal provision is made for them,

B.whereas the way a society treats its weaker members, including the mentally handicapped, says a great deal about that society,

C.whereas the care of the mentally handicapped cannot simply be left to specialists alone but must be dealt with by society which must learn to change its attitude towards them and provide for their reintegration,

D.whereas an educational effort is needed to change attitudes in society, which for decades has been accustomed to excluding and rejecting the mentally handicapped,

E.whereas all persons have the right to live within society and to have their fundamental rights respected and on the basis of the equal dignity of all, independently of whether they are healthy or suffer from mental, psychological, sensory or physical handicap,

F.whereas the inability to give consent should not automatically entail the loss of civil rights and whereas it is necessary to seek ways of ensuring that the mentally handicapped are able to exercise their civil rights as far as possible,

G.whereas all persons are entitled to suitable basic care, which should be individually adapted to the mentally handicapped,

In respect of civil rights

1.Calls for harmonization of the legal status of the mentally handicapped, balancing their personal rights against their need for special protection;

2.Calls for the mentally handicapped not to be called upon to give evidence for the prosecution or the defence in civil or criminal proceedings without the assistance of a representative, and for them to be ordered to be detained during criminal proceedings only where there is a danger to the general public and where other, less extreme measures cannot be taken;

3.Calls for the rights of the mentally handicapped to be restricted to the minimum extent and only when absolutely necessary, and for a review of legislation in those Member States which do not apply this principle;

4.Calls for legal incapacitation to be made reversible in those Member States where it is not and for the mentally handicapped to have access to the courts at all times;

5.Calls for improved emotional and sex education for the mentally handicapped, for a highly sensitive approach to be adopted to their individual circumstances and for the mentally handicapped, like all other persons, to be able to satisfy their sexual needs;

6.Calls for sterilization to be regarded as the last resort and for sterilization to be carried out only if other methods or means of contraception are impracticable or unreliable;

7.Calls for the sterilization of persons incapable of giving consent to be allowed only after thorough examination by at least two doctors and on presentation of a favourable written opinion, with the consultation of the parents or the legal representatives and of the persons concerned; calls for a final decision on sterilization to be made only by the competent court in accordance with the procedures provided for in the Member State in question; a representative of the state must be involved in this procedure if so provided for in the Member State;

8.Calls for sterilization to be carried out no sooner than two weeks after the court delivers its ruling and for it to be carried out in accordance with medical procedures which enable the operation to be reversed if possible;

9.Calls for strict observation of the principle of equal treatment of men and women in respect of the abovementioned paragraphs;

In respect of education and training

10.Calls for intensive guidance at an early stage for all parents of mentally-handicapped children, so that handicaps can be ascertained as early as possible and dealt with where appropriate by special programmes, and so that the abilities the mentally-handicapped person does have may be developed at an early stage;

11.Calls for such early guidance in particular to enable the parents to accept and bring up a mentally-handicapped child;

12.Calls for nurseries and education systems to be based on integration where the situation of the mentally handicapped person allows; special therapy for the mentally handicapped must be offered; ‘normal’ children gain from mixing with handicapped children as they acquire tolerance and experience of other ways of life and viewpoints;

13.Calls for pre-school facilities and special schools to be made available in all Member States as part of educational planning and for the rationalization of existing standard and special educational services based on the principles of integration and normalization to take account of the processes of educational integration and special services for the children who are most affected (disturbed, autistic or psychotic);

14.Calls on the Commission to expand and give financial support to its commendable existing exchange and study programmes for the mentally handicapped and for staff caring for them and stresses the need to adopt and implement the Helios II programme;

15.Calls on the Commission to finance pilot projects for the education, training and further training of the mentally handicapped, especially in the Member States which still have inadequate facilities and to initiate and encourage a programme for the exchange of information and experience in this field;

16.Calls for the provision of training for those specializing in the training, education and care of the mentally handicapped;

In respect of employment and social security

17.Calls on the governments and the Commission of the European Community to take steps to ensure that adequate numbers of suitable jobs are available so that the mentally handicapped can exercise their right to work;

18.Calls for the setting of mandatory quotas for the employment of the handicapped with the alternative of payment in redemption of this obligation; such payments to be based on the monthly salary of the notional number of such employees and paid to sheltered establishments to enable them to pay performance-oriented wages;

19.Calls for mentally handicapped people in enterprises and sheltered workshops to be given status commensurate with their situation and leave equivalent to that of other workers and remuneration based on their output, and for the mentally handicapped to be represented in the enterprise by a spokesman or spokeswoman;

20.Calls on the Member States to ensure that the mentally handicapped have the right to further education and professional training; calls on the Commission to draw up programmes in this field and supply financial support;

21.Calls on the Commission to develop pilot projects for sheltered employment for the mentally handicapped and to grant the Member States financial support for such schemes;

22.Calls for basic social security, and a minimum wage and minimum pension for the mentally handicapped;

In respect of care and accommodation

23.Calls for a changeover from large institutions to small accommodation units or individual accommodation and living arrangements; care must be provided, for there cannot simply be a changeover from ‘institutional neglect’ to ‘community neglect’;

24.Calls on the Commission to provide subsidies for pilot projects for encouraging independence in accommodation:

-so that the mentally handicapped may be properly cared for and accompanied in their leisure time,

-so that those with the severest mental handicaps may live under good conditions and not just be held in safe keeping,

-to ensure that in old age the mentally handicapped are not torn away from familiar surroundings;

25.Calls for parents or private persons caring for a mentally handicapped person to be given appropriate state financial and social support including the provision of help (family support arrangements) such as the services of a person doing a civilian alternative to military service, and generous periods of curative ‘leave’;

26.Calls for periods spent bringing up and caring for the mentally handicapped to count towards pension rights;

27.Calls for subsidies for relatives providing care on the same basis as national subsidies to specialized residences;

28.Calls for adult mentally handicapped people to receive assistance in setting up their own home and living independently of their parents or moving to a care centre in so far as their situation or abilities allow;

29.Calls for the further and sustained improvement of the Community network under the Helios and Horizon programmes and calls on the Commission for the coordination of all networks to be kept centralized in the interests of efficiency; regrets that no report has yet been adopted on the Helios II programme; instructs its appropriate committee to draw up and table a report without delay;

30.Calls on the Commission to promote the establishment of European networks for the exchange of experience, knowledge and information in all the areas covered by this resolution;

31.Calls on the Commission to continue, by its information and awareness campaigns, to draw attention to the special position of the mentally handicapped and the need to attend to and alleviate their problems with special attention;

32.Calls on the Commission to play a part in the expansion and where appropriate the setting up of national information offices specializing in the problems of the mentally handicapped, and supporting them and the persons caring for them with help and advice;

33.Calls on the Commission to consider whether, under the Lomé Convention and similar agreements with Third World countries and Eastern European countries, financial aid could not be provided for the mentally handicapped in those countries where, while there is widespread tolerance, the resources are not available for their early diagnosis or education and training;

34.Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the report of its committee to the Commission and Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, their ombudsmen and the

national committees on petitions or other committees with responsibilities in this field.