ENNHRI Statement on the Draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention

ENNHRI has released a new Statement on the Draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention, reiterating its concerns about the current draft. Particularly, the Statement highlights that:

  • The draft Additional Protocol creates the risk of a conflict between international norms at the global and European levels;
  • As it stands, the draft Additional Protocol lacks clear, strong procedural safeguards to ensure respect for the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • Different stakeholders have opposed the adoption of the draft, both at the level of the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

ENNHRI is of the view that the drafting amendments are not sufficient to allay the fundamental concerns surrounding the Additional Protocol. The intention to move forward with the draft and finalise it in due time seems to contradict the prevalent, substantial criticism to the present version of the draft Additional Protocol, already explained in detail by a wide range of stakeholders during the consultation process, including the UN CRPD Committee and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. Therefore, ENNHRI:

  • Calls upon the DH-BIO to withdraw the present version of draft Additional Protocol in view of the persisting concerns with the present text, including those raised by the UNCRPD Committee, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly and its Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, and Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.
  • Calls upon Member States of the Council of Europe to ask for the withdrawal of the present version of the draft text and, if this draft is ultimately put to a vote, to oppose its adoption.
  • Calls upon DH-BIO to ensure that any text relating to the deprivation of liberty of persons with disability includes the necessary procedural safeguards, and is subject to thorough, further consultations and dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders, including National Human Rights Institutions, disabled persons organisations and civil society at large.

You can read the full ENNHRI Statement here.

Background

Since 2014, the Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) of the Council of Europe has been working on a draft Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, also known as the “Oviedo Convention”. The draft concerns the protection of human rights and dignity of “persons with mental disorder” with regard to involuntary placement and involuntary treatment.

Public consultations have been taking place since then and several stakeholders raised their concerns about the conformity of the draft Additional Protocol with human rights standards. In 2014, ENNHRI and its CRPD Working Group also submitted its comments to DH-BIO on an earlier iteration of the draft Additional Protocol. In its meeting in November 2018, DH-BIO is set to decide on the next steps for the finalisation of the draft.