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14 Eur. J. Health L. 273 (2007)
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

handle is hein.journals/eurjhlb14 and id is 283 raw text is: MARTIN U S                                                  European Journal
NJHOFF                                                          of
P U B L I S H E R S  European Journal of Health Law 14 (2007) 273-298  HealtL
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities
1. Introduction
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly on 13 December 2006.' In accordance with
Article 42, the Convention and the accompanying Optional Protocol were
opened for signature on 30 March 2007. As of September 2007, the number of
signatures amounts to 102 for the Convention and 59 for the Optional Protocol.
Almost all European States as well as the European Community are amongst
those who have signed the Convention. Five states formally ratified the Conven-
tion. The Convention will enter into force once twenty ratifications or accessions
have been received (Article 45).
In this commentary I will address the question why it was felt necessary to
draft a new legal instrument on the rights of people with disabilities (§ 2), describe
its aim and material provisions (0 3), examine its implications for (the right to)
health and health care (§ 4), and end with the main conclusions (6 5).
2. Rationale and Passage
Persons with disabilities are traditionally perceived as dependent individuals who
evoke sympathy, if not pity, and require societal protection and support to com-
pensate for their inabilities. As such, they were predominantly seen as objects of
care instead of legal subjects entitled to respect and the full enjoyment of human
rights. This approach is also reflected in the human rights instruments adopted in
response to the atrocities committed during the Second World War. Despite large
scale eugenics, involuntary sterilisation, 'euthanasia' and medical experimenta-
tion programmes and policies, not confined to Nazi-Germany, the human rights
of people with disabilities were systematically ignored, if not neglected, by the
drafters of such instruments as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1948), the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms (1949), the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (1966) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
') Resolution A/RES/61/06.

Q Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007

DOI: 10.1 163/092902707X240620

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