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Laws 2016, 5(2), 23; doi:10.3390/laws5020023

Are Cutbacks to Personal Assistance Violating Sweden’s Obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

1
Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
2
Department of Health, Blekinge Institute of Technology, SE-371 79 Karlskrona, Sweden
3
Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland, Oddi 332, Sæmundargötu 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anna Arstein-Kerslake
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 29 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disability Human Rights Law)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [217 KB, uploaded 16 May 2016]

Abstract

Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires states to ensure that disabled people can choose where and with whom they live with access to a range of services including personal assistance. Based on qualitative research of the implementation of Article 19 in Nordic countries, this paper focuses on Sweden, which was at the forefront of implementing personal assistance law and policy and has been the inspiration for many European countries. Instead of strengthening access to personal assistance, this study found that since the Swedish government ratified the Convention in 2008, there has been an increase in the numbers of people losing state-funded personal assistance and an increase in rejected applications. This paper examines the reasons for the deterioration of eligibility criteria for accessing personal assistance in Sweden. The findings shed light on how legal and administrative interpretations of “basic needs” are shifting from a social to a medical understanding. They also highlight a shift from collaborative policy making towards conflict, where courts have become the battleground for defining eligibility criteria. Drawing on the findings, we ask if Sweden is violating its obligations under the Convention. View Full-Text
Keywords: independent living; personal assistance; Sweden; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities independent living; personal assistance; Sweden; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brennan, C.; Traustadóttir, R.; Anderberg, P.; Rice, J. Are Cutbacks to Personal Assistance Violating Sweden’s Obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? Laws 2016, 5, 23.

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