Disability, Deprivation of Liberty and Human Rights Norms: Reconciling European and International Approaches

Eilionóir Flynn

Abstract


Persons with disabilities are subject to unique forms of deprivation of liberty, often justified by reference to the need to protect their right to life, right to health, and to protect the human rights of others. This paper examines disability-specific forms of deprivation of liberty, particularly those authorised in mental health and capacity law, in light of their compliance with European and international human rights frameworks. It explores the apparent tension between Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which permits deprivation of liberty of ‘persons of unsound mind’ in certain circumstances, and Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that ‘the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.’ The challenges in attempting to comply with both provisions are illustrated through reference to developments in England and Wales. This paper also seeks to offer a way forward for States Parties to both Conventions, in order to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19164/ijmhcl.v22i2.503

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