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Dementia and Human Rights – Part 6


As part of the work that I have been doing with the Prime Ministers Challenge on Dementia, I have also looked at the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


I read through a very interesting comment by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  There is a discussion that the Mental Capacity Act may not compliant with this UN Convention and apparently the Ministry of Justice is looking into this point.


Anyway back to the key points of the UN convention: The UN deal with countries all around the world, some of which are more advanced than others, so in reading through the Rights, it struck me that some of them were obvious for me in a modern first world county, but for a rural third world country, they may be far more relevant.  The single thing that struck me as relevant to this point is the issue of a birth certificate.  All births should be registered, as without registration how can someone be a citizen?  It would entitle them to all sorts of rights, in the UK, healthcare and education but to name a couple.  If a birth isn’t registered not only are they denied Rights, but the important one that becomes easier to deny is the Right to life, if their birth was never registered, they never formally existed and it is easier to neglect or kill them!!  All for the lack of a birth certificate!!


The preamble to the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a lovely piece of work, that amongst other things recognises “the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.  And “Recognising the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices”, “Recognising that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation” and “recognising that children with disabilities should have full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children” to name but a few of the things that it says.


It is very idealised, however ideal is what we should all be working towards and at all times, if we aim for that there can be no criticism of effort, even if we don’t achieve the perfect outcome and there are issues of achievement.


So after this lovely preamble comes the Purpose, Definitions, General Principles and General Obligations, before Article 5 Equality and non-discrimination, which includes an obligation by UN States to ensure that “reasonable accommodation is provided”.


Articles 6 & 7 are about women and children, noting that they are particularly vulnerable, that women should be empowered, developed and advanced and that children should be treated on an equal basis with other children, and that due weight is given to children with disabilities in accordance to their age and maturity on an equal basis with other children.