Equal opportunity for people living with disability

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) supports the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention moves from legal equality to equal opportunity.
CC/Rachel Groves

The Swiss Federal Council would like to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has thus initiated a discussion period to that end. In its statement on the subject, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) supported the Council’s proposal, as the Convention would move forward from legal equality to equal opportunity for those affected. This follows up in earnest on the preamble of the Swiss Federal Constitution which states that “the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members.”

The UN has been changing its approach to the issue. Disabilities are no longer to be seen as health problems but as other ways of life. Ratifying the Convention would mean seeking to bring about a social equality that would lead to equal opportunities to participate in society and equal access to social resources.

The FSPC welcomes the Federal Council’s view. Moving away from a problem-oriented view aligns with a Christian view of human life. God places an absolute value on each human being; every human being deserves the same respect as a human being. Human equality must be protected by law and consistently put into practice as well.

The FSPC supports improvement in the situation of people with disabilities, in light of current debates over the right to life. Making it possible for people with disabilities in our society to lead lives rich in perspective and opportunity is the most convincing argument against questions of what sort of lives are worth living.

Switzerland’s affluence comes, not least, thanks to its populace’s flexibility and productivity. People with disabilities, however, have little chance to participate under the pressures to adapt to society. The market pays no heed to their particular situation. Ratifying the Convention would lay a legal foundation for people with disabilities to actually enjoy these freedoms.

» Statement (german)