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Reconsidering Sheltered Workshops in Light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)

Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 5 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disability Human Rights Law)
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Abstract

Sheltered work and related practices remain a prevalent service for people with intellectual disabilities. However, as a result of being placed in these, participants overwhelmingly remain segregated and excluded from their wider communities. This paper explores whether, with the advent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we can at least begin to assess the equality implications of such placements and argue that the experience of segregation itself represents numerous rights violations and discrimination. Having considered traditional equality mechanisms and their bearing on people with intellectual disabilities, this discussion explores how far the Convention’s re-envisioning of the basic principles of equality can perhaps provide a more promising outlook and ideological stance. Indeed, during the Convention’s inception, the negotiations circled around the conflicting opinions as to the purpose, usefulness, and future of sheltered work, revealing the existing tensions between protection and autonomy, shrouding all disability policy discussions. As a result, the question of sheltered work is not explicitly addressed in the treaty and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have been unable to definitively declare that the practice of sheltered work constitutes an act of discrimination. However, the Committee does as times demand that sheltered workshops be phased out where it is obvious that the practice of sheltered work is directly linked to the exploitation of workers. Moreover, certain provisions in the Convention might help in determining wrongful discrimination in some, if limited, instances. View Full-Text
Keywords: intellectual disability; sheltered workshops; United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; equality; dignity; discrimination intellectual disability; sheltered workshops; United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; equality; dignity; discrimination
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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May-Simera, C. Reconsidering Sheltered Workshops in Light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). Laws 2018, 7, 6.

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