People with disabilities and placed under full guardianship are the only Swiss citizens who do not have the right to vote. This violates the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Switzerland ratified in 2014. Experts are now committed to overturning this inequality. People in this group are those with serious and long-term disabilities, that according to Article 136 of the Federal Constitutionexternal link, makes them ‘permanently incapable of judgement’. As they are unable to care for themselves, the Cantonal Protection Office for Children and Adults places them under full guardianship.
Once disabled people have been placed under full guardianship, they are systematically excluded from political rights. However, Article 34 of the constitution stipulates that all Swiss citizens are guaranteed political rights.
“The current solution is neither constitutional nor is it viable under international law,” says Markus Scheferexternal link, professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Basel and Switzerland’s leading expert on the rights of people with disabilities.