VI Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 1-23 (January 2019)
In 2008, Saudi Arabia signed and ratied 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 “rearm 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) [hereinaer CRPD].
2. e Disability Welfare Law (DWL) states in Article 1, that a person is consid-
ered disabled if he suers “from a permanent, whether total or partial, impair-
ment aecting 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).