Intellectual disability (ID) is the most prevalent disability in the world. People with intellectual disability (PWID) frequently experience extreme violations of numerous human rights. Despite greater prevalence in South Africa than in high-income countries, most ID research currently comes from the Global North. This leaves us with few contextually sensitive studies to draw from to advance inclusive citizenship.
Our scoping review aims to investigate pertinent ID rights issues in South Africa, synthesise quantitative and qualitative studies, and provide a synopsis of available evidence on which to base future work. We aim to clarify key concepts, address gaps in the literature and identify opportunities for further research.
We followed strict eligibility criteria. Medical subject heading terms were entered into seven databases. Seven reviewers worked independently, two per paper. Quantitative and qualitative data extraction forms were designed. We followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and registered a protocol. An inductive approach enabled a thematic analysis of selected studies.
By following PRISMA guidelines, 82 studies were assessed for eligibility of which 59 were included. Ten sub-themes were integrated into four main themes: the right not to be discriminated against, the right to psychological and bodily integrity, the right to accommodating services and challenges to rights implementation.
People with intellectual disability face compound difficulties when trying to assert their constitutionally entitled rights. This ongoing project requires serious commitment and action. Statutory obligations to nurture every South African’s human rights naturally extend to PWID and their supporters who forge ahead in a disabling environment.