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Human Rights for People with Intellectual Disabilities 

Human Rights for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Human Rights for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Ian Hall

and Evan Yacoub

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date: 19 September 2021

Ian Hall and Evan Yacoub offer a brief historical account of human rights violations experienced by people with intellectual disabilities, including segregation, sterilization, and euthanasia. With reference to the UK and the European Convention on Human Rights, they observe how diagnostic overshadowing and problems with accessing health care diminish the right to life, and the prohibition of torture and degrading treatment is not infrequently breached through excessive restraint, punishment, and/or abuse, sometimes for years. Those accused of offences may be denied a fair trial while victims of crime and abuse are also at a disadvantage. Children may be denied access to parents and families, parents denied their children and/or support with raising them, and adolescents and adults denied the right to a sexual life and to procreate. Problems with ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination remain widespread. Countering such violations are recent inclusive policy developments, including normalization and social role valorization. Potential solutions include enshrining the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) into national law, reforming national law to cover private providers, developing specific standards and individualizing support (including financial support) across settings, maximizing capacity and avoiding overly risk-averse approaches to key decisions, exposing abuses, and improving professional standards and training.

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