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Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

2 September 2006

Media Release

Right to Life is disappointed that the proposed United Nations, International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities excludes protection for the human rights of unborn children with disabilities. These children comprise the weakest and most defenceless members of the human family. The Convention is expected to be ratified at the General Assembly of the United Nations this September.

The draft document, Article 7 Children with Disabilities, states“That States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensure the equal rights of children with disabilities to the full enjoyment of all rights set out in this Convention.”

These objectives are just, noble and commendable however the Convention unjustly discriminates against unborn children with disabilities. There is an urgent need for the protection of the human right’s of unborn children, including those with a disability. The Abortion Supervisory Committee, in its report to Parliament in 2005 advised that 139 children were killed before birth in New Zealand in 2004 on the grounds “that there was a substantial risk of physically or mentally seriously handicapped child”

The New Zealand government has had a prominent role in guiding the proposed Convention through the United Nations. The ad hoc committee dealing with this Convention was chaired by Mr Don McKay, the New Zealand Ambassador to the United Nations. The unborn child is being excluded from this Convention on the grounds that the child is not a human being, nor a person endowed by its creator with human rights. This conclusion is both false and dangerous. It is reminiscent of the falsehood perpetrated in the age of slavery in the United States when a Negro slave was deemed not to be human. To have no rights and was the property of the slave-owner. From the moment of conception the human embryo should be accorded the respect and protection that is due to the human person.

Right to Life supports effective legal protection for the human rights of unborn children, including those with a disability. It is shameful that this country actually provides for the legal killing of unborn children including those with a disability. This Society asks does the Government support protection for the human rights of unborn children with disabilities. This Society also calls upon the Government to use its influence with the United Nations to have this Convention amended to provide protection for the human rights of unborn children with a disability.

Ken Orr
Right to Life New Zealand Inc


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