Faced with inaccessible buildings and insufficient support services, 100,000 people with physical disabilities, including older people, in Spain remain trapped in their homes, according to a shocking new report published last week.
Researchers examined the situation of the 2.5 million people with physical disabilities living in Spain and discovered that more than 1.8 million of them need help to leave their homes. Those who cannot get that support are condemned to stay at home, something that could easily change if the buildings themselves were accessible. “We find people who are imprisoned in their own homes due to the lack of accessibility in their own building,” said Laura López, director of the Fundación Mutua de Propietarios, one of the two groups co-authoring the report.
In 2007, Spain ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which requires governments to ensure that the physical environment and public services, including housing, They are equally accessible to people with disabilities as for those who don’t have it.
Spain passed a new law in 2013 based on the premise that universal accessibility helps ensure equal opportunities and treatment for people with disabilities. This legislation made homeowners associations responsible for ensuring their buildings are accessible to everyone and set a December 2017 deadline. deadline to eliminate architectural barriers.
But a report from March 2018 of the UNESCO Chair of Housing and the Mutual Owners Foundation found that only 0.6 percent of the 9.8 million residential buildings in Spain meet accessibility standards for people with physical disabilities.
He The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities similarly criticizes Spain earlier this year, noting that “measures taken to ensure universal accessibility, particularly for private buildings, have been insufficient or ineffective.” He recommended the government take “all legislative and budgetary measures” necessary to solve the problem.
Spain should demonstrate that it is committed to fulfilling its promises under international law, including by taking clear measures to ensure that all Spaniards enjoy accessibility. Because no one should ever be stuck in their own home.