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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Draft Article 10

  • States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities:
    • enjoy the right to liberty and security of the person, without discrimination based on disability;
    • are not deprived of their liberty35 unlawfully36 or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty shall be in conformity with the law, and in no case shall be based on disability.37
  • States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty, they are:
    • treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner that takes into account the needs they have because of their disabilities;
    • provided with adequate information in accessible formats as to the reasons for their deprivation of liberty;
    • provided with prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance to;
      • challenge the lawfulness of the deprivation of their liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority (in which case, they shall be provided with a prompt decision on any such action);
      • seek regular review of the deprivation of their liberty;
    • provided with compensation in the case of unlawful deprivation of liberty, or deprivation of liberty based on disability, contrary to this Convention.


35: The jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee (see, for example, General Comment 8) notes that States interpret deprivation of liberty too narrowly, so that it applies only to the criminal justice system. The right to liberty and security of persons, however, applies to all deprivations of liberty, whether in criminal cases or in other cases such as, for example, mental illness or intellectual disability, vagrancy, drug addiction, educational purposes, or immigration control. The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider: a) whether civil and criminal cases should be dealt with separately; b) whether the text needs further elaboration on civil cases of deprivation of liberty; and c) whether, for criminal cases, the clauses in this text dealing with procedural matters need strengthening (see also Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

36: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to discuss whether the wording of paragraph 1(b) does or does not prohibit civil commitment, and whether it should.

37: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider adding a provision that obliges states to reform laws and procedures that perpetuate the arrest and detention of persons with disabilities on the basis of disability.

Relevant references:

International human rights conventions and legal instruments

Disability-specific instruments

Jurisprudence of human rights treaty bodies

Other documents

Summary of discussions at the Working Group

Comments on the draft text

Back to list of Draft Articles

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