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Article 11 - Situations of risk

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Fourth Session


Comments, proposals and amendments submitted electronically



European Union


Non-governmental organizations

Children’s Rights Alliance for England

International Disability Caucus

Landmine Survivors Network

People with Disabilities Australia

Working Meeting of NGOs for people with disabilities from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus & Moldova


Comments, proposals and amendments submitted electronically




We recommend including in article 8 a reference to “the various stages” in the life of a person and support the proposal of Jordan to pay special attention to armed conflicts and natural disasters. Therefore we propose the following inclusive drafting:

“States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of persons with disabilities in their various stages, and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by them, in particular in situations of armed conflict and natural disasters, in accordance with international law, human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law”.

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Draft Article 8


States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of all persons with disabilities, and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by them.35
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(1) States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of all persons with disabilities and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by them.

(2) The right to life also includes the right for persons with disabilities to survive and to develop on an equal basis with other persons.

(3) Disability is not a justification for the termination of life.
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Non-governmental organizations


Article 8

Right to life

States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of all persons with disabilities, and shall (take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by them - delete)

undertake to amend, repeal or nullify any laws or national rules that ascribe lower social status and less human value to infants or other persons with disabilities. In particular, States Parties shall ensure laws affecting the unborn foetus, and national rules governing life-extending medical support or treatment, are based on equal respect for human life.

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Draft Article 8: Right to Life, Survival and Development

1. States Parties recognize and protect the inherent right to life of all persons with disabilities, and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by girls and boys, women and men in all stages of life.

2. The right to life also includes the right to survive and to develop on equal basis with others.

3. Disability is not a justification for the termination of life.

4. States Parties shall undertake effective measures to the prohibition of compulsory abortion at the instance of the State based on the pre-natal diagnosis of disability.

5. States Parties shall also prohibit all medical, biological and other experiments reducing the quality of life of persons with disabilities, or seeking to remedy a disability against an individual’s will.

6. In case of natural and humanitarian disasters, including wars and armed conflicts, states parties shall secure safety of girls and boys, women and men with disabilities on equal basis with others, taking into account each individual's needs.
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Draft Article 8 recognizes the right to life in its specific application to people with disabilities. The formulation of Draft Article 8 received strong support from a number of delegations to the Ad Hoc Committee. At the same time, various drafting suggestions were put forward, in addition to proposals for adding additional text. It is essential that a draft article covering the right to life be included in this Convention given that it is a fundamental human right frequently denied to women, men and children with disabilities.

The recognition of the right to life is commonplace in specialized Conventions. (Cf. CRC, Article 38(4); Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Article 3(1)(a)) A number of general international Conventions likewise include a provision on the right to life. (Cf. UDHR, Article 3; American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, Article 1; ICCPR, Article 6; American Convention on Human Rights, Article 4; European Convention on Human Rights, Article 2; African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4) Inclusion of a provision on the right to life received broad support from States during the third session of the Ad Hoc Committee. (Cf. Daily Summaries, Vol. 4, #2 and Vol. 4, #5, available at:;

Draft Article 8(1): Argentina proposed the deletion of the word “reaffirm” and its replacement with the term “recognize.” This alternative term is preferable. The term “reaffirm” is more typically used in non-binding declarations. The term “recognise” is typically found in Conventions and is the term used in Article 38 of the CRC.

Draft Article 8(2): India supported the inclusion of a second sub-paragraph that derives from Article 8 on the right to life in the CRC. The inclusion of this language is important for its inclusion of concepts that are highly relevant to ensuring the human rights of people with disabilities – survival and development. Significantly, Article 23, the provision on children with disabilities in the CRC, requires assistance to be provided in a manner conducive to maximizing “social integration and individual development.” People with disabilities are too often subjected to violence and exploitation, concepts that directly link to survival. Other provisions throughout the Convention draft text are equally relevant to facilitating survival and development, such as the right to education, accessibility, and employment. The concept of achieving the maximum survival and development of people with disabilities in society runs throughout the draft Convention text, therefore, it should be explicitly integrated into the Convention framework. Finally, ensuring that the provision on right to life also includes the concepts of survival and development underscores that the disability issues are regarded as channels of development and inclusion, not public welfare and charity.
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Article 8: Right to Life

We strongly support the inclusion of the Right to Life in this convention however, we wish to highlight that the current formulation of the right is essentially the same as that set out in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is suggested that the right should be more directly applied to the specific risks to life faced by persons with disability.

The lives of people with disability are often regarded as inferior to those without disability. As a result, medical and social interventions are often denied or restricted to people with disability, or given secondary priority. In the absence of these interventions people with disability sometimes cannot survive or develop to their full potential. There is general acceptance of the fact that people with disability are subject to greater levels of violence and abuse leading to higher mortality. In light of this it is suggested that States must accept a special obligation to protect the lives of people with disability.

The expression of the Right to Life in the Convention on the Rights of the Child includes a right to survival and development. We strongly suggest that a similar right be incorporated into this convention with respect to people with disability.

Pre-natal genetic testing to detect chromosome variations that may result in impairment is most often used for the purposes of supporting selective termination on the basis of that impairment. In this respect, it should be noted that the Human Genome Project, whatever the benefits it may offer people with disability, also represents a fundamental eugenic threat to the continued existence of many impairment groups. For this reason, we believe that this convention should attempt to erect an ethical constraint on the use of genetic information for the purpose of preventing the lives of children with disability.

This obviously presents a difficult ethical challenge, not least because of its potential impact on the choice of women in relation to pregnancy. However, it might be possible to address this issue more indirectly. For example, much of the information that is made available to parents at the time of genetic testing and immediately following the birth of a child with disability is overwhelmingly negative and inaccurate, and induces parents to opt for termination of pregnancy or withdrawal of life sustaining treatments. It is possible to impose an obligation on States to ensure that prospective parents of a child with disability receive positive and realistic orientation to their child and its future life. This may reduce the chances that parents will opt for termination of pregnancy.

The ability to detect impairment prior to birth brings with it grave risks that both States and private actors – such as insurers – may deny or restrict social assistance to children with disability and parents where parents make a conscious decision to proceed with a pregnancy where disability has been detected prior to birth. This convention must eliminate any risk that social assistance will be denied or limited to parents or children with disability in circumstances where a genetic variation was detected prior to birth.

Taking into account these proposals, the article might be redrafted as follows:

1. States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of all persons with disability, and shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and enjoyment of this right.

2. States Parties to this convention shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the person with disability.

3. States Parties to this convention shall take immediate and effective measures to discourage termination of pregnancy on the basis of actual, suspected, imputed, assumed or possible future disability. This shall include:

(a) Establishing ethical standards and guidelines for genetic information and counselling services;

(b) Ensuring that information and support provided to parents during the pre-natal period provides a positive orientation to the child with disability;

(c) Ensuring the availability of all necessary post natal information and support to parents and the child with disability;

(d) Prohibiting State and non-State actors from limiting or refusing social assistance on equal terms with others on the basis of a parental decision to bear a child with disability.

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Article 8

Right to life

The following statement should be added:

Future parents have got the right to give birth to a future baby in the case they are informed about his/her disability. Prospective disability of the child can not be the reason for cancelling all types of statutory support to the child and the family.
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