UN Convention on Disabled Raises Grave Concerns

ROCKFORD, Ill., Aug. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ — The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities raises grave concerns, according to Allan Carlson, organizer of the World Congress of Families and president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

“Ironically, what is being billed as a treaty to protect disability rights may actually be used to deny those rights, including the most fundamental human right — the right to life,” Carlson charged.

The Convention, which opened in New York last Monday (Aug. 14) and runs until Aug. 25, is drafting this human rights treaty, which could force governments to change their domestic laws. Formally representing The Howard Center at this UN Session is Lauren Vander Heyden.

Carlson observed: “The treaty’s danger lies in its ambiguous language. For instance, the International Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. in 1948, speaks of the ‘worth’ as well as the ‘dignity’ of the individual. By contrast, the Disability Treaty speaks only of their ‘dignity,’ but not their ‘worth.’ Since euthanasia advocates use the expression ‘death with dignity,’ there’s a reasonable fear that a convention intended to secure their rights actually could lead to the killing of the disabled.”

“With active euthanasia sanctioned in a number of countries, including the Netherlands, this concern is far from hypothetical,” Carlson cautioned.

Qatar introduced language that would protect the disabled from denial of life-sustaining food and water, as well as essential medical care. But that language has yet to be included in the draft document.

The draft also recognizes a right of persons with disabilities to “reproductive health services,” without defining the term. Said Carlson: “Proponents of abortion use the term to mean unhindered access to abortion. If that’s what it means here, as it well may, the disabled — whose own existence is threatened — are being given the right to end the lives of others.”

Nicaragua has led a group of 23 nations (including the U.S.) that have objected to including “sexual and reproductive health services” in the document. If the draft isn’t changed, it would be the first time an international treaty has recognized such a right.

Finally, the draft document says those with disabilities have an unqualified right to “experience sexuality” and “have intimate sexual relations.”

“What does this mean?” Carlson asked. “In marriage or outside of marriage? Is there any age limitation? Does this establish a right to homosexual as well as heterosexual relations? For families, these undefined terms could be ticking time bombs.”

The World Congress of Families urges delegates to the UN Convention on Disabilities to address these matters in a way that truly protects the rights of the disabled and other human beings. If not, the treaty must be rejected.

World Congress of Families IV will convene in Warsaw, Poland May 11-13, 2007. Unlike the United Nations, we are committed to securing the rights of all people, from birth to natural death. For more information on World Congress of Families, go to http://www.worldcongress.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Carlson, contact Larry Jacobs at 815-964-5819.

The World Congress of Families fosters an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, and leaders that seeks to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seed bed’ of civil society. To date, there have been three World Congresses of Families – Prague (1997), Geneva (1999) and Mexico City (2004). WCF IV will be in Warsaw, Poland, May 11-13, 2007.

EDITORS: Corrects 3rd graf to read “…(Aug. 14) and runs until Aug. 25” (sted “Sept.” as sent). Corrects 10th graf, 2nd line to read “…Is there any” (sted “their” as sent). Corrects 12th graf, 2nd line to read “…May 11-13” (sted “May 5-7”) as sent).


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