Discriminative wording about disabled removed from Turkish laws

Discriminative wording about disabled removed from Turkish laws

Discriminative wording about disabled removed from Turkish laws

Expressions hurting people with disabilities were removed from some 95 Turkish laws, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin (C) says. AA photo

Expressions such as “handicapped,” “gimp” and “faulty” that have been deemed hurtful and humiliating to people with disabilities have been officially removed from over 95 Turkish laws after the regulation was published in the Official Gazette on May 3.

The regulation calls for more appropriate words to replace the previous terms with the aim of removing any suggestion of an insult at the affected parties. 

The words will instead be replaced with “people with disabilities” or “unfit for military service” or similar, less offensive terms for over 95 official regulation texts that include laws on marital status, counter-terrorism, veteran soldiers, retired soldiers and social services. 

Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved the regulation on May 2, with nine other regulations also undergoing changes to better suit the rights of people with disabilities. 

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines the correct use of terminology as “persons with disabilities” as well, dismissing the uses of “handicapped” and “physically or mentally challenged.” 

While acknowledging that certain geographical differences may occur in the terminology, the convention states that “the individual wishes of persons with disabilities should be respected as much as possible.” The convention moves on to define disability as an “evolving concept,” resulting from “an interaction between a non-inclusive society and individuals.” The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on Dec. 13, 2006, with 82 signatories, and went into effect in May 2008. All 27 European Union members signed the convention, making it the first ever comprehensive human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as a whole.