Table 6:  Disability and the right to
informed consent

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • People with disabilities are deprived of their right to provide or deny consent to treatment.
  • Women with disabilities are subject to sterilization without their full and informed consent.
  • Persons with disabilities are subjected to medical experimentation without their consent.
  • Persons with disabilities are subjected to forced medications.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRPD 25 States shall (d) Require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent …  CRPD: urging Hungary to amend Act CLIV on Healthcare and abolish its provisions that provide a legal framework for subjecting persons with disabilities with restricted legal capacity to medical experimentation without their free and informed consent. The Committee recommended to Hungary that it implement the recommendation made by the Human Rights Committee in 2010 (CCPR/C/HUN/CO/5) to “establish an independent medical examination body mandated to examine alleged victims of torture and guarantee respect for human dignity during the conduct of medical examinations.”  CRPD/C/HUN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD:  expressing concern to Tunisia about the lack of clarity concerning the scope of legislation to protect persons with disabilities from being subjected to treatment without their free and informed consent, including forced treatment in mental health services; and recommending that Tunisia incorporate into the law the abolition of surgery and treatment without the full and informed consent of the patient, and ensure that national law especially respects women’s rights under article 23 and 25 of the Convention.  CRPD/C/TUN/CO/1 (2011).

CRPD: urging that China cease its policy of subjecting persons with actual or perceived impairments to “correctional therapy” and abstains from involuntarily committing them to institutions. It furthered urged China to abolish laws that allow for medical experimentation on persons with disabilities without their free and informed consent. CRPD/C/CHN/CO/1 (2012)

CRPD:  recommending to China that rights based approach to rehabilitation and habilitation be put in place and ensure that such programmes promote the informed consent of individuals with disabilities and respects their autonomy, integrity, will and preference.  CRPD/C/CHN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD: recommending that China adopt measures to ensure that all health care and services provided to persons with disabilities, including all mental health care and services, is based on the free and informed consent of the individual concerned, and that laws permitting involuntary treatment and confinement, including upon the authorisation of third party decision-makers such as family members or guardians, are repealed. CRPD/C/CHN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD:  noting that in Argentina, there is a “lack of clear-cut mechanisms for ensuring that persons with disabilities give their free and informed consent. for any type of medical treatment before it is administered” and recommending that Argentina “adopt protocols for ensuring that all persons with disabilities give their free and informed consent for any type of medical treatment before it is administered.” CRPD/C/ARG/CO/1 (CRPD, 2012).

CRPD: recommending that Spain “ensure that the informed consent of all persons with disabilities is secured on all matters relating to medical treatment, especially the withdrawal of treatment, nutrition or other life support.” CRPD/C/ESP/CO/1 (CRPD, 2011).