Innovative Policies 2015 concern different aspects of Article 19 of the CRPD – Living independently and being included in the community: Access to personal assistance and community-based support services including peer counselling, information & advice. And of CRPD Article 29 – Participation in political and public life: Right to vote/enfranchisement, accessible electoral processes, as well as access to elected offices.


Austria (Upper Austria): Peer counselling as an approved profession

UPPER AUSTRIA 2 Peter+Margit+Christian_Buerosituation2

Amendment of the Social Professions Act

Acknowledging that peer counselling is crucial to empower persons with disabilities, Upper Austria established – for the first time worldwide – peer counselling as an official social profession, approving people with physical, psychosocial, and intellectual disabilities as skilled professionals in their field.


Belgium (Flanders): Personal Assistance Budget

Man in wheelchair working on computer assisted by his personal assistant © Onafhankelijk Leven vzw

Flemish Government Decree on the Procedures for Grants (Personal Assistance Budget) to Persons With Disabilities

The support that persons with disabilities receive is often based on the charity model and not on human rights. In Flanders persons with disabilities can chose to receive a Personal Assistance Budget, which allows them to fully control the support they receive.


Japan: Enfranchising people under guardianship

Tokyo District Ruling on 14 March 2013. © Keiko Shima

Revision of Election Law

Around the world, restrictions of voting rights based on intellectual disabilities and the lack of legal capacity deprive people of their political rights. Court cases are key to repealing such discriminatory provisions. In 2013 a prominent court case in Japan led to the enfranchisement of more than 136,000 persons.


Luxembourg: Funding a national disability information centre

LUXEMBOURG 2013 conference legal capacity of DP

Funding agreement for a National Disability Information and Meeting Centre between Info-Handicap and the Government

Because policies targeting people with disabilities are often not coordinated, people have difficulty finding their way through the bureaucracy. A national disability information centre is a classic win-win solution: It assists people with their administrative procedures and helps policy makers to shape inclusive policies.

New Zealand

New Zealand: Improving access to electoral events

NEW ZEALAND 5_wheelchair_voting

Access 2020 Disability Strategy

Persons with disabilities may encounter a number of barriers when enrolling and voting at elections. To ensure that all aspects of the electoral process are accessible to these persons, New Zealand’s Electoral Commission has implemented a comprehensive strategy, in close cooperation with civil society.

South Africa

South Africa: Ensuring equal access for Members of Parliament

Sign Language

Policy on facilities for members with special needs & Policy on reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities

Persons with disabilities rarely become Members of Parliament; and if they do, they need equal access to all parliamentary facilities. South Africa has implemented steps that ensure the inclusiveness of its Parliament and that allow all Members with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others.


Spain: Voting and participating in the electoral process

Accessible voting kits were ensure the exercise of the right to vote by secret ballot to all blind people who know Braille and who had previously requested it © ONCE.

Royal Decree 1612/2007 on an accessible voting procedure for people with visual disabilities & Royal Decree 422/2011 on the conditions for the participation of persons with disabilities in political and electoral processes

Citizens with disabilities regularly encounter barriers that prevent them from voting and participating in electoral processes. To assist its citizens, Spain introduced two important regulations that eliminate a number of these barriers.


Sweden: The right to a personal assistance budget

One of STIL's staff with her personal assistant © STIL - the founders of Independent Living in Sweden

The Act Concerning Support and Service to Persons with certain Functional Impairments & The Assistance Benefit Act

Many countries are still far from the goal of enabling persons with extensive disabilities to choose the support that best suits their needs. Sweden stands out in offering citizens a wide range of alternatives and control over the services they need, including the right to a personal assistance budget.

Sweden: Personal Ombudsmen

Sweden PO

Programme Establishing A Nationwide System of Personal Ombudsmen

Guardianship, hospitalization, institutionalization, powerlessness, isolation, drug addiction, homelessness, suicide, and violence are among the negative situations and conditions that the Swedish system of Personal Ombudsman helps to prevent – proving to be a true ‘change maker’ in the lives of many persons with disabilities.


Uganda: Reserved elected seats for persons with disabilities

Hon Asamo Hellen Grace, one of Uganda's parliamentarians representing persons with disabilities of Eastern Uganda in Parliament, speaking at a Conference on Disability & HIV and AIDS, organised by National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) © NUDIPU

Constitution, Parliamentary Elections Statute & Local Governments Act

Around the world persons with disabilities are underrepresented in public life, but this is not the case in Uganda. The country legislated that elected political bodies at all levels must reserve a minimum number of seats for representatives of persons with disabilities.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Funding for running for an elected office

Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund

In most countries people with disabilities are underrepresented in public life because they face substantial barriers to putting themselves forward for election. In the United Kingdom grants are available to help meet the additional costs associated with running for election that candidates with disabilities can face.