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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

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Article 23
Respect for home and the family


1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family and personal relations, and shall ensure that national laws, customs and traditions relating to marriage, family and personal relationships do not discriminate on the basis of disability so that3 :

(a) Persons with disabilities have the equal opportunity to [experience their sexuality,] have sexual and other intimate relationships and experience parenthood;

(b) The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is recognized;

(c) The rights of persons with disabilities to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education, the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights and the equal opportunity to retain their fertility.

2. States Parties shall ensure the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount. States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities.

3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with respect to family life. With a view to realising these rights, and to prevent concealment, abandonment, neglect and segregation of children with disabilities, States Parties shall undertake to provide early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families.

4. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. In no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.

5. States Parties shall undertake that where the immediate family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, to take every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family, and failing that, within the community in a family setting.




3. The Ad Hoc Committee notes that this article is not intended to affect the ability of States Parties to determine their own policies and legislation on marriage, the family and personal relationships. Rather, the effect of this article is to oblige States Parties to ensure that where freedoms or restrictions on those issues exist, they are applied without discrimination on the basis of disability.



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