Back to: Third Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Daily summary of discussions
summary of discussions related to Article 8
RIGHT TO LIFE
UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Third session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
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Volume 4, #2
May 25, 2004
Commenced: 3:20 PM
Adjourned: 5:59 PM
Yemen agrees completely with Article 8. It recommended
a second paragraph: "States Parties shall, in accordance to their
obligations in the context of international law and the Universal Declaration
of human rights and international treaties and conventions for the protection
of civilians from armed conflicts, take all necessary measures to guarantee
the protection and care for persons with disabilities that are affected
by armed conflicts or are refugees or are internally displaced persons."
China stated that the right to life by PWD is protected
and respected which means those who have been born and living on this
earth. In order to control its population and relieve burdens on its
society, China practices family planning. This policy protects PWD.
China questioned the necessity of including this Article in the Convention.
Ireland stated that the EU supported Article 8 after
a very difficult discussion. The EU does not support any additions.
South Africa stated that right to life was needed
for the Convention to be comprehensive. However, right to life is in
other instruments. It does not support any additions to this article.
Colombia supported keeping this article with no changes.
Argentina stated that right to life is dealt with
in other instruments. If it is necessary to include it, the CRC language
may be helpful: “States Parties recognize that any disabled person has
an inherent right to life.”
Norway agrees that this is a difficult issue and supported
the original Article 8 with no changes.
Costa Rica endorsed Argentina's recently stated view,
that the right to life is inherent to everyone and if a specific mention
is included in this Convention, it may open a Pandora’s Box. Given the
Committee’s general support for this inclusion Costa Rica suggested
alternative language as follows: “States Parties reaffirm the inherent
right to life of all persons and shall take all necessary measures to
ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities.” The existing
draft article may create a distinction that is not there; everyone has
same rights and obligations, not just PWD. In addition Costa Rica calls
for an additional Article for “Populations in Special Risk” such as
in situations of armed conflict, natural disasters and extreme poverty.
Draft language for this article will be distributed later.
Uganda supported the original Article 8 and supported
the added paragraph about armed conflict. Its suggested language is
as follows: “In accordance with their obligations under international
humanitarian law to protect civilian population in armed conflicts and
risk situations, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to
ensure the protection and care of all persons with disabilities who
are affected by armed conflicts."
The Holy See attaches great importance to this article
and its role in this Convention. Although the Right to Life is recognized
in other instruments, PWD are a specific group with specific issues.
The voices of PWD should be heard in this, because of their lived experiences
related to the denial of this right.
Mexico stated its preference for Article 8 in the
original WG, but may support adding a second paragraph.
Nicaragua supported Article 8 as drafted and favors
second paragraph regarding armed conflict.
Japan supported the original text. Regarding the addition
addressing armed conflict, it may support it, but inclusion may change
the intent of the Article. It may be better under another Article.
India supported the addition of a right to survival,
as follows: States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible
the survival and development of PWD.
Kenya supported this Article as written. It also supported
an armed conflict and natural disaster addition. This is important to
developing countries faced with civil strife.
Jordan supported the Article as it is and suggested
adding at the end of the sentence “in particular in situations of armed
conflicts and natural disasters, in accordance with international law,
human rights, refugee, and international humanitarian law.”
Lebanon believes a separate article is needed so that
Article 8 will not be diluted.
Eritrea supported the addition of a new paragraph
regarding armed conflict since PWD are under much greater risk.
NACLC/People with Disabilities Australia Incorporated/Australian
Federation of Disability Organizations supported retaining
the content of the existing draft article with an additional statement
elaborating on rights related to the specific circumstances of PWD.
“These measures shall include enacting measures to discourage the elimination
of unborn children on the basis of their actual, suspected, imputed,
assumed or possible future disability by providing pre-natal information
and post-natal support to parents of children with disability, prohibiting
state and non-state actors from limiting or abusing social assistance
on equal terms with others on the basis of a parental decision to bear
a child with a disability, the provision of life sustaining and life
enhancing medical and social interventions that will ensure survival
of PWD, enacting protections against violence, abuse and neglect of
PWD, eliminating policies and practices that result in segregation and
isolation of PWD.” In addition, genetic engineering presents a fundamental
eugenic threat to many impairment groups.
Inclusion International expressed its concern over
the role of genetic engineering, noting that PWD are a part of human
diversity and bring unique contributions through their disability. “Don’t
prevent us, include us.”
World Federation of the DeafBlind recommended changing
the title to the Right to Life, Survival and Development” with the following
additional language: “States parties shall take all necessary measures
to ensure its effective enjoyment by women, men, girls and boys in all
stages of life.” Supporting the Indian position there should be a second
paragraph: “The right to life includes the right to survive”. The additional
third paragraph would state: “Disability must not become a justification
for determination of life.”
Volume 4, #3
May 26, 2004
Commenced: 10:27 am
Recessed: 12:54 pm
The Chair opened the morning session by carrying over
additional Article 8 interventions.
Costa Rica reiterated their proposal with regard to
the definition in Article 8, filed with the Secretariat, and withdrew
their observation as to Article 8 (bis) in order to back Kenya’s proposal
as endorsed by other delegations.
Yemen, on behalf of the Arab Group, proposed a new
two-part 8(b), with added reference to “armed conflicts, occupations,
and wars.” These create special conditions impacting PWD, and Yemen
expressed readiness to look at any ways and means to enhance the text.
They reminded the delegates that PWD in countries in armed conflict,
refugee situations, and under occupation deal with problems of such
severity as to result in suicides. All delegates are encouraged to “strive
to protect the disabled laboring under such travail” by adding a reference
to “persons under the yoke of occupation.”
The floor was opened for comments from NGOs.
National Right to Life (NRL), also speaking on behalf
of International Right to Life,
supported the Article as written, and as a separate Article. “If we
do not have the right to life, we have no other rights.”
Save the Children International (SCI), speaking also
on behalf of Handicap International, agreed that the Article is for
everyone, including children. It supported the proposal of Argentina,
India and others on the concept of survival and development, and suggested
modifying the Article title to harmonize with core principles of right
to life, survival, and development contained in Article 6 of the Convention
on Rights of the Child (CRC), and to reflect “not only right to life
as such, but the right to survive.” An additional paragraph 8.1 is suggested,
as follows: “Children and young people have right to physical, mental,
spiritual, moral and social development to the maximum extent possible.”
Since the global increase of conflict and natural disaster pose an extra
risk for PWD, Save the Children also supported the Costa Rica, Uganda,
Kenya, and NRL positions regarding the need for a separate Article on
the issue of conflict.
Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) supported the Article
because “the right to life is a fundamental principle of human rights
law from which no derogation is permitted.” They agreed with the WG
proposal, but commented that serious consideration should be given to
India’s proposal reflecting the CRC approach. Groups at risk would be
more appropriately addressed in a separate Article addressing the situations
of PWD in armed conflict and natural disasters, in rural or remote areas,
or scattered populations, based on the CEDAW precedent.
The Canadian Association of Living (CAL) supported
the Article and urged that genetics and biotechnology issues also be
addressed. As parents, they expressed concern that scientific and medical
models may pose a “slippery slope toward genetic perfection” detrimental
to PWD. CAL stated a need for the families of people with disabilities
to be included in all discussion on bioethical issues, and for recognition
that “technology must sustain diversity and common humanity.” Parents
and families should be provided education and support to help them resist
the societal pressure to abandon or hide their children. Delegates were
encouraged to “start a new page to embrace our sons and daughters, and
promote their inclusion and right to life.”