Making Every Life Count: Ensuring Equality and Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflicts

Monash University Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 148-174, 2014

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/106

18 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2014

See all articles by Naomi Hart

Naomi Hart

University of Cambridge

Mary Elizabeth Crock

The University of Sydney Law School

Ronald McCallum

The University of Sydney Law School

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: December 14, 2014

Abstract

This paper considers the implications of article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which obliges states parties to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters. Unusually among human rights conventions, the CRPD explicitly invokes international humanitarian law as a source of states’ obligations. This paper focuses on one type of emergency situation, armed conflict. It argues that the CRPD reorients and transforms the protections offered through international humanitarian law by casting them in the language of ‘rights’, advancing a ‘social’ model of disability which conceptualises persons with disabilities as rights-bearing agents, rather than as subjects in need of medical attention, welfare and passive protection. The paper also contends that the CRPD approaches disability as a context-specific phenomenon that is the result of society and environment as much as the product of a personal condition. After analysing various rules of international humanitarian law — including specialised protections for the ‘disabled and infirm’, protections for the sick and wounded, fundamental guarantees of human treatment, restrictions on weapons during armed conflict, and the prohibition on discrimination — the paper concludes that article 11 makes a profoundly important and novel contribution to both IHL and international human rights law as these affect persons with disabilities.

Keywords: Convention the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, international humanitarian law, armed conflict, wounded, sick, infirm, equality, humane treatment

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Hart, Naomi and Crock, Mary Elizabeth and McCallum, Ronald and Saul, Ben, Making Every Life Count: Ensuring Equality and Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflicts (December 14, 2014). Monash University Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 148-174, 2014; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2538249

Naomi Hart (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Mary Elizabeth Crock

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Ronald McCallum

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 0252 (Phone)

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/profiles/ben.saul.php

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