Dementia and Human Rights – Part 10


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 the beginning of Article 23 – Respect for home and the family.


I have already looked at the point that people with disabilities are entitled to have their family lives protected and are able to have children, the next part of this Article then goes on to say that the children of the family should also be protected, so as to prevent, amongst other things, concealment, abandonment or neglect.  The State should provide services to the family to support children with disabilities and their families.  The State should also not separate the child and their family, except when lawful and that such a process should be subject to review by the Courts.


Where a family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, then the State should try to ensure they are cared for within the wider family and if that is not possible, then within the community in a family setting.


Article 24 is Right to an Education, that people with disabilities are entitled to lifelong educational opportunities on an equal basis with others.  Their education should develop their human potential and sense of dignity and self worth.  It should include developing their mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential and to enable them to participate in a free society.  In order to achieve this, people with disabilities should not be excluded from free and compulsory education; therefore reasonable accommodations should be made to facilitate this.  This accommodation of needs includes the use of sign language and Braille and alternative modes of communication.  The State should also employ teachers with disabilities and to raise disability awareness for all teaching and training staff in order to support the education of the disabled person.  For obvious reasons to do with compulsory education, there is a lot of emphasis on the early years education, however it does include university (tertiary), lifelong and vocational education.


Whilst the earlier Articles are incredibly important (right to live, recognition before the law and freedom from exploitation etc) within a modern first world culture we take these for granted, these later articles (living independently in the community, right to family and education etc) are the ones that impact on the day to day living of someone with a disability.  As such, these are very important in our modern society.  It should of course be remembered, that as this is the UN convention, not every country that is a member of the UN is a modern first world country and therefore the perceived importance of the Articles may be different in different countries!


So the next one is Article 25 – Health.  People with disabilities have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination and that it should be gender sensitive and either free or affordable, as provided to other people.  It goes on that the Right to Health includes early diagnosis and treatment to prevent further disabilities, including to children and older people.  Where there is health insurance and life assurance available, it shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner.  It specifically includes the prevention of discrimination of denial of healthcare, or food and fluids on the basis of disability, which supports Article 10, the Right to Life!