Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Back to: Daily Summaries
Ad Hoc Committee Main


Daily summary of discussions related to Article 8


UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
A service made possible by Landmine Survivors Network * [Disclaimer]

Volume 5, #3
August 25, 2004



New Zealand noted that the first part of this article replicates language used in previous instruments, but the second part, “shall take all necessary measures,” is new and could imply preferential treatment. New Zealand therefore supports an amendment to add “on an equal basis with others” which should resolve this problem. It does not support the introduction of language attempting to cover issues such as the status of unborn children as this “could open a Pandora’s box.” The article should not cover prevention of disability. Though it notes the risks posed to PWD living in certain situations (poverty, armed conflict) it does not support specific reference to such situations.

Chile called for including references to the various stages in the life of a PWD. It supports the Jordanian proposal to mention armed conflict and natural disasters and proposes language encompassing all of these issues: “States Parties reaffirm the inherent right to life of all PWD in the various stages of their life 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.”

Costa Rica reaffirmed its proposal in the 3rd session to reaffirm the right to life of “all” which would avoid the problem highlighted by New Zealand; however it is also open to supporting the alternative proposal by New Zealand.

Kenya agreed with Argentina that the term “recognize” should replace the term “reaffirm.” PWD should enjoy quality of life and disability is not a justification for the termination of life and it supports the language in this regard. It also proposes additional language: “States Parties shall prohibit medical, biological and other experiments reducing the quality of life of PWD or seeking to remedy a disability against the will of a PWD.” Kenya further supports language referencing the situation of PWD in armed conflict or natural disasters as follows: “In case of humanitarian or natural disasters, States Parties shall secure the safety of PWD on an equal basis with other persons taking into account each individual’s needs.”

The Chair noted that there was reference to medical experimentation in Article 11.

Japan expressed concerned that adding references to armed conflict and natural disasters could change the whole concept of the original WG text, which it supported. Japan is not opposed to addressing such situations but this should be done elsewhere.

Canada agreed with New Zealand on the need to be consistent with human rights law and with its proposed language (“on an equal basis with others”) ensuring that PWD do not enjoy any different standard in relation to the right to life. Canada opposes addressing causes of disability such as armed conflict or issues that touch on bio-ethical debates. There are instruments that deal more appropriately with civilians in armed conflict. It opposes the Chilean proposal to add “at various stages of their life,” and the proposal to replace “reaffirm” with “recognize” as this would severely weaken the text.

China supported the Jordanian proposal to reference armed conflict and natural disasters, as this makes the text more comprehensive. It would not object to the deletion of the latter half the WG text, “and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by them.”

Venezuela supported the Costa Rica proposal to delete references to PWD, as the right to life should apply to all people, not only PWD.

The US supports the WG text with the following addition at the end: “…and shall ensure that disability or perceived quality of life shall not serve as a basis for infringement of the right to life.” The US can also support the formulation of the right to life as set forth in the ICCPR. It opposes a reference to armed conflict.

Mexico stated that it would like the Spanish version of the text to refer to the “inherent” right to life, reflecting language in the UN Charter. It called for a more open and general treatment of the article and supports the proposal by Costa Rica. Armed conflict and other exceptional risk situations should be covered elsewhere in the convention.

The Holy See stressed its support for Article 8 and recalled WG NGO interventions that were very powerful. It noted the precedents for including a provision of the right to life in other human rights conventions. It is satisfied on the whole with the WG text, but will carefully consider additional contributions, such as that proposed by Kenya. It supports the intervention by the USA to add language on quality of life. It voiced caution in relation to the New Zealand proposal to add “on an equal basis with others” as this may not fully capture the particular risks posed to PWD in their enjoyment of the right to life.

South Africa supported the WG text and the Costa Rican proposal to refer generally to the right to life of all persons.

India supported the WG text with the addition “on an equal basis with others.” It cautioned against getting into a debate on issues such as the status of the unborn child.

The EU supported the WG text. Armed conflict and natural disasters are important issues but do not belong in this article. The right to life under international law is non-derogable and therefore covers all situations. It opposes the proposal to replace “reaffirm” with “recognize” which would weaken the text.

Syria supports the WG text with the additional language as proposed by Jordan on armed conflict and natural disasters, and as proposed by Palestine on foreign occupation.

Eritrea supported proposals by Argentina (“States Parties recognize that any person with disabilities has the inherent right to life”) and India (adding a second paragraph “to ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of persons with disabilities”). It would support the inclusion of a reference to armed conflict and natural disasters though this could also be addressed elsewhere in the convention as suggested by Mexico.

Thailand supported the WG text with the additional language from New Zealand (“on an equal basis”). Proposals to add other issues may not be advisable but Thailand will study them.

Jordan expressed its appreciation to delegations supporting its proposal on armed conflict and natural disasters, which it put forward as a compromise. It is open to referencing such issues elsewhere in the convention.

Lebanon recognised concerns expressed by some delegations on adding language to the WG text, but underlined its importance. Lebanon is open to placing references to particular situations such as armed conflict elsewhere in the convention.

The Chair drew the Committee’s attention to references to situations such as armed conflict in the Preamble at (p).

Mali supported the WG text with a change in the title to “Right to Live” as this is “much more active.”

Non-Governmental Organizations

International Right to Life Foundation (also on behalf of US National Right to Life, UK Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and United Families International) noted the enhanced risk of PWD to infringements of their right to life who are in greater danger than non-disabled people to be denied medical treatment and or food and water. Their quality of life is not perceived to be “good enough.” It therefore supports language in Article 8 regarding quality of life.

International Disability Caucus submitted its proposed language under the title “Right to Life, Survival and Development.” This right must be recognized at all stages of life, including infants, girls and boys. The right to survival and development has been included in the CRC, so this is not unusual or controversial. Disability is not a justification for the termination of life and this issue impacts the enjoyment of the right to life and should be included. While the Caucus takes no position on the issue of abortion in general, it opposes compulsory abortion based on prenatal diagnosis. Language on experiments does not replicate Article 11, but addresses experiments that reduce the quality of life of PWD. Seeking to remedy a disability against a person’s will is also related to quality of life. Language on armed conflict does not address prevention, but the need to ensure the safety of PWD in armed conflict and emergency situations.

Yemen supports the WG draft with additional wording similar to 6(2) in CRC relating to survival and development. Language relating to refugees, armed conflict and those under foreign occupation should be included in a separate article.

Inclusion International noted that people with intellectual disabilities have been seen as a burden on society. Even those with the greatest support needs must have their right to life respected.

The Chair adjourned the session.

Home | Sitemap | About us | News | FAQs | Contact us

© United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development