Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Laudable provisions to protect the disabled

By Abhimanyu Singh (China Daily) Updated: 2013-12-03 08:14

China's decision to include provisions for the protection of persons with disabilities in the newly proposed law against family violence is a laudable initiative to protect them from violence within the family and offers the opportunity for the world's second-largest economy to set the global standard in legislating this important aspect of social policy.

Our investigations have not identified any country in the world which has adopted laws targeting violence against the disabled within the family setting, which would make China, once this law is adopted, the world leader in establishing a legal framework to protect the rights of some of its most vulnerable citizens.

Laudable provisions to protect the disabled 

Chairperson of the China Disabled Persons' Federation Zhang Haidi delivers a report at the sixth national congress of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 17, 2013. [Photo / Xinhua]

China is party to two international frameworks - the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - which offer protection against violence. Violence against the disabled also runs counter to Article 16 of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which provides for freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse. This article also imposes on states an obligation to promote the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of the victim and to investigate abuse. China's decision to integrate these rights and protections into its national legislation is a bold and welcome move.

China's 1991 Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons (amended in 2008) already provides for some protection against discrimination. Article 3 states that disabled persons are entitled to the same political, economic, cultural and social rights as other citizens, and that the rights of disabled persons as citizens and their personal dignity are protected by law. Discrimination against, insult of, and infringement upon disabled persons is prohibited. However it does not specifically address violence within families and households.

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