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Back to: Third Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Daily summary of discussions

Daily summary of discussions related to Article 8

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

Afternoon Session
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.”

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