Highlights

  • Spain replaces the term 'handicapped' with 'persons with disability'
  • Spain's Parliament amended the consitution
  • Spain takes a step towards social inclusion

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Spain to use term ‘persons with a disability' instead of ‘handicapped'

Spain has replaced the term 'handicapped' with 'persons with disability' by amending its consitution. 

Spain to use term ‘persons with a disability' instead of ‘handicapped'

Spain's Parliament voted on Thursday to amend the country's constitution for the third time in its history, removing the term “handicapped” and replacing it with “persons with a disability.” The change has long been a demand of people with disabilities in Spain.

The amendment to Article 49 also added that “public administrations will pursue policies that guarantee the complete autonomy and social inclusion of people with disabilities.” Spain's ruling Socialist Party and the conservative opposition Popular Party agreed to make the change in a rare moment of consensus between the European nation's largest political parties.

The amendment was also backed by all the other, smaller parties represented in the chamber, except for the far-right Vox party. It passed by a vote of 312 to 32. It required the support of three-fifths of the Parliament's lower chamber and must also be passed by the Senate, with the same margin.

“Today is a great day for our democracy,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who asked for forgiveness in name of the country for having taken so long to make the change.

“We are paying off a moral debt that we have had with over four million of our fellow citizens," he said.

Only two prior amendments have been made to Spain's 1978 Constitution, which marked the return to democracy after the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

The first amendment, in 1992, allowed citizens of other European Union (EU) member states to run as candidates in municipal elections in Spain. The second amendment, in 2011, was to meet EU rules on public deficits amid the eurozone's debt crisis.


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