No. 28 of #50cases.
Is a disabled person entitled to the same human rights protection as a non-disabled person? You may think that is a simple question with an obvious answer. Not so.
Mig and Meg are sisters who have severe learning disabilities. They were taken into care as children. Mig lives happily with a foster mother. Meg needs more help and lives in a small care home. P is a man who also needs to live in a small care home. He has cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome and needs 24-hour care. His mother is no longer well enough to provide it.
They are not free to leave the homes they have been given, and they would not want to. Are they still entitled to the same protection as every other non-disabled person? We are all entitled to our liberty and we are all entitled to challenge the authorities when it is taken away. Prisoners are entitled to parole hearings. Mental health patients are entitled to a regular review of whether they should be allowed to go home. So for disabled people: should their living conditions be regularly reviewed in the same way?
It is hard to accept that vulnerable adults who are being well looked after should be described as birds trapped in a gilded cage. Thanks to the Supreme Court in this case, all disabled adults in care are now included in the word ‘human’ of human rights and entitled to the same dignity and status as the rest of us. In their case, this means regular reviews to ensure their best interests and needs are being taken into account.