ENNHRI releases Statement calling on Council of Europe Member States to oppose the adoption of the Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention
ENNHRI reiterates its concerns that the Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention on Bioethics would create a conflict between international standards and may lead to further violation of the human rights of persons with disabilities in Europe.
In a new Statement regarding the prospective adoption by the Council of Europe of the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention, which regulates the involuntary treatment and placement of “persons with mental disorders”, ENNHRI once again voices the concerns of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) about the impact that this document would have on the rights of persons with disabilities.
In the current Statement, which follows two previous ENNHRI Statements released in 2014 and 2018, ENNHRI reiterates that the Additional Protocol could create a conflict between international standards at the global and European levels. As highlighted by the UN CRPD Committee, the draft Additional Protocol still falls short of fully observing the spirit and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Thus, if adopted, the Additional Protocol could contribute to the progressive fragmentation of the frameworks in the field of international human rights law for persons with disabilities. These concerns are shared at international level by other leading bodies and organisations working in the field of disability rights, such as UN human rights experts, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the European Disability Forum.
In line with the opinions of relevant stakeholders, ENNHRI echoes concerns that the Additional Protocol despite its proposed intention, would risk solidifying institutionalisation of persons with disabilities, could inadvertently result in an increase in the resort to coercion, and may not contribute to preventing human rights violations of persons with disabilities.
For these reasons, in its new Statement, ENNHRI:
- Highlights the importance of harmonised standards and international norms at the global and European levels, in order to strengthen the work of human rights defenders (such as NHRIs), civil society and disabled persons organisations for the promotion and protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities in Europe;
- Calls upon the Council of Europe Member States to oppose the adoption of the Additional Protocol and to instruct the Council of Europe to use its expertise and resources to fulfil important gaps in this field.