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At the Intersection of Childhood and Disability: Improving Human Rights Protection for Disabled Children

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Abstract

Disabled children are at the crossroad of two identities that taken together reinforce their marginalized position in society. They can call upon two human rights treaties, namely the Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). While both human rights treaties give disabled children a lot of consideration, they view these children predominantly from the perspective of a single identity, that is, as children first or as disabled people first. The chapter argues that a joint reading of these human rights treies can help fill the gap left by each of them individually. It also highlights the utility of such an intersectional approach through an analysis of the right of disabled children to education.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, 1577 UNTS 3; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006, 46 ILM 443.

  2. 2.

    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, 999 UNTS 171; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966, 993 UNTS 3. With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR and ICESCR are said to form the International Bill of Human Rights.

  3. 3.

    International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965, 660 UNTS 195; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 1979, 1249 UNTS 13.

  4. 4.

    Article 4(1), CEDAW.

  5. 5.

    The Preamble, which also refers to ‘multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination’, lists an non-exhaustive number of grounds (Preamble(p), CRPD).

  6. 6.

    See Articles 3 and 12, CRC. The two other ones are: non-discrimination (Article 2) and the right to life, survival and development (Article 6).

  7. 7.

    https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-15&chapter=4&clang=_en.

  8. 8.

    https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&clang=_en.

  9. 9.

    Article 23.1 of the CRC provides that the disabled child must ‘enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.’

  10. 10.

    Articles 18(2), CRC. Article 23(2) of the CRC also refers to and assistance to ‘those responsible for his or her care’.

  11. 11.

    By contrast, Article 1 of the CRC defines the child as being ‘every human being below the age of eighteen’.

  12. 12.

    Articles 28 and 29, CRC; 13 and 14, ICESCR. The CRC repeats most of the standards enunciated in the ICESCR, although it adds several new elements, including measures on vocational guidance (Article 28.1d), drop-out rates (Article 28.1e) and school discipline (Article 28.2).

  13. 13.

    Note that the CRC Committee replaced the term ‘integration’ by the term ‘inclusion’ in its general comment on the situation of disabled children (CRC Committee 2007, para. 11).

  14. 14.

    This list of values was not taken over in the CRPD.

  15. 15.

    This provision was reiterated in 24.1b of the CRPD in which is added ‘creativity’.

  16. 16.

    Articles 23(2) and (3), CRC.

  17. 17.

    Article 24(2)(e), CRPD.

  18. 18.

    The author is grateful to the CRC and CRPD Committee members who have provided him with this information.

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de Beco, G. (2022). At the Intersection of Childhood and Disability: Improving Human Rights Protection for Disabled Children. In: Felder, F., Davy, L., Kayess, R. (eds) Disability Law and Human Rights. Palgrave Studies in Disability and International Development. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86545-0_8

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