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Dementia and Human Rights – Part 8


So having started to look at the UN convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I’m going to look at the next few obligations, we were up Article 14.


Article 15 is Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, this includes medical or scientific experimentation.  It does of course include judicial punishment or torture, or even administrative, in other words, the State cannot do this to anyone, even if it is part of their legal proceedings.  This does not prevent anyone from taking part in medical or scientific experimentation if they choose, but they have to give their “free consent” in order to take part in any clinical trials.


Article 16 is Freedom from Exploitation, Violence and Abuse.  Both women and children are more at risk of exploitation than the rest of the population ie men! But they are even more at risk of exploitation of they have a disability.  Everyone is entitled to autonomy of the person, that is everyone: men, women, children (as age appropriate) and people with disabilities.  It includes the obligation to promote the physical, cognitive and psychological recovery from exploitation along with rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons subjected to exploitation through protection services.


Article 17 is the Protecting the integrity of the person, which I shall quote in full – it is a short article! “Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others”. Succinct and to the point!


Article 18 is the right to Liberty of movement and Nationality.  This encompasses the point that I made in an earlier blog about the right to have their birth registered, which gives them nationality and citizenship and protection of their rights.  Without a birth certificate a person is easier to kill or neglect, as they don’t officially exist.  It also includes the freedom to leave any country, including their own and the right to enter their own country.  People with disabilities are like other people, they have the right to acquire and change their nationality and should not be deprived of their nationality arbitrarily or on the basis of their disability.


Article 19 is the right to Living independently and being included in the community.  This is one of the areas that I have already touched on in respect of people with dementia, they are entitled to take risks and live in the community.  They are entitled to “full inclusion and participation in the community” including “hav[ing] the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement.  They should have access to “in-home … support services… to prevent isolation or segregation from the community”.  I regularly see people with dementia being admitted into care and sometimes this is the right thing, but not always.  The professionals caring for them don’t like taking risks and realise that if they are in a supervised 24hour environment, then they are at far less risk.  But since I’m allowed to take risks, by getting in my car, or doing DIY, then why can’t someone with dementia take risks, even if they are different risks.