ENNHRI submits third-party intervention to European Court of Human Rights on right to vote for persons with disabilities

ENNHRI has submitted a third-party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of Strøbye v. Denmark and Rosenlind v. Denmark concerning the right to vote for individuals who are under legal guardianship or deprived of their legal capacity. Led by the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of Denmark (Danish Institute for Human Rights), the submission underlines that voting rights cannot be withdrawn solely based on a disability.

In the two cases, the applicants were deprived of their legal capacity under Danish legislation and subsequently not entitled to vote in national parliamentary elections. According to the Danish provision applicable at the time, persons deprived of their legal capacity automatically lose their right to vote in national parliamentary elections and referenda without an individualised examination of their capacities to exercise this right.

ENNHRI’s submission highlights the law’s inconsistency with international standards. Specialised international instruments at the levels of the United Nations and the Council of Europe reflect consensus around the principle that the right to vote for persons with disabilities shall be the rule and that persons with disabilities should not be deprived of this right based on their disability.

Also, relevant legislation and jurisprudence from across Council of Europe Member States show a tendency towards reducing restrictions on the right to vote for citizens placed under guardianship or without legal capacity. As shown in information provided by 17 member NHRIs, since 2003, at least 15 Member States have reduced such restrictions. Moreover, no Member State has introduced measures aimed at further limiting the right to vote for this group in this period.

This submission was the result of cooperation among European NHRIs through ENNHRI’s Legal Working Group and Working Group on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

» Download the submission