The Model of Disability in Saudi Arabia

Author:Hashem N. Alsharif
Position:The American University Washington College of Law
Pages:3-23
SUMMARY

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international treaty that addresses matters related to persons with disabilities, prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Saudi Arabia signed the Convention in 2008, but has not yet ratified the Convention based on societal views of disability in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, Article 12 of the Convention... (see full summary)

 
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e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
http://www.ijil.org
© 2019 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
thE ModEls of disaBilitiEs in saudi
araBia
Hashem N. Alsharif
e American University Washington College of Law,
E-mail: Dr.H89@hotmail.com
e Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international
treaty that addresses matters related to persons with disabilities, prohibits all
forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Saudi Arabia signed
the Convention in 2008, but has not yet ratied the Convention based on socie-
tal views of disability in Saudi Arabia. Specically, Article 12 of the Convention
raises concern for Saudi society as it advocates recognizing all persons with in-
tellectual disabilities as full persons before the law, which is incompatible with
the legal framework and social system in Saudi Arabia. However, disability can
be viewed under dierent paradigms, called the models of disability. Over time,
disability advocacy has called on people and society to change perceptions on
disability using these dierent models of disability. Disability rights in Saudi
Arabia are complex because how disability is viewed consists of a host of factors
that shape societal views. Although dierent models of disability are examined
in this article, the social model of disability provides the most nuanced frame-
work to align societal views and legal reformation to improve the situation for
people with disabilities in Saudi Arabia. Aer examining these models from a
Saudi Arabian perspective, this article calls on Saudi Arabia to adopt the social
model of disability in order to amend its laws and ratify the Convention.
Keywords: Medical Model; Social Model; Disability Justice; Islam; Saudi Arabia;
People with Disability.
VI Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 1-23 (January 2019)
4
Alsharif
INTRODUCTION
In 2008, Saudi Arabia signed and ratied the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),1 an international treaty that ad-
dresses matters related to persons with disabilities (PWD).2 Article
12 of the CRPD declares that State Parties “rearm that persons with
disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before
t he la w.”3 Article 12(2) requires State Parties to “recognize that persons
with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all
aspects of life.4
Unlike the provision of Article 12(2) of the CRPD, persons with
intellectual disabilities (PWID)5 in Saudi Arabia are not entitled per
se to the legal capacity to act; Saudi Arabia noted this distinction
when signing the CRPD.6 is distinction does not explicitly violate
Article 12 of the CRPD; however, because of this distinction, all laws
and practices in Saudi Arabia are based on the notion that PWID
are incapable of acting without the supervision of guardians, which
renders PWID incapable until proven otherwise. Furthermore, this
distinction shows how Saudi society looks at PWD’s rights, which is
1. G.A. Res. 61/106, annex I, U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Dis-
abilities (Dec. 13, 2006) [hereinaer CRPD].
2. e Disability Welfare Law (DWL) states in Article 1, that a person is consid-
ered disabled if he suers “from a permanent, whether total or partial, impair-
ment aecting his senses, or his physical, mental, communicative, learning or
psychological abilities, in a manner that reduces his ability to perform daily
activities compared to a non-disabled person.” e DWL, furthermore, lists
a number of disabilities that are protected by the law, such as “visual impair-
ment, hearing impairment, mental disability, physical and motor disability,
learning disabilities, speech disorders, behavioral and emotional disorders, au-
tism, double and multiple disabilities, and other disabilities that require special
c a re .”
3. CRPD art. 12.
4. Id. art. 12(2).
5. is assertion is viewed on a case-by-case analysis depending on the severity of
a person’s intellectual disability.
6. Brenton Kinker, An Evaluation of the Prospects for Successful Implementation of
the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Islamic World, 35
M. J. I’ L. 443, 481 n.313 (2014).

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