Disabled People and the Right to Life: The Protection and Violation of Disabled People's Most Basic Human Rights

Disabled People and the Right to Life: The Protection and Violation of Disabled People's Most Basic Human Rights

Disabled People and the Right to Life: The Protection and Violation of Disabled People's Most Basic Human Rights

Disabled People and the Right to Life: The Protection and Violation of Disabled People's Most Basic Human Rights

Synopsis

The most basic of human rights, the right to life, is the focus of this book.

'Human rights' has increasingly come to be seen as a significant framework, both to aid understanding of the experiences of those who face oppression, and to underpin social, legal and political measures to counter it. Disabled People and the Right to Life uses this framework to explore how disabled people's right to life is understood in different national contexts and the ways in which they are - or are not - afforded protection under the law, emphasizing the social, cultural and historical forces and circumstances which have promoted disabled people's right to life or legitimated its violation.

Written by an international panel of contributors including individuals holding public office, academics from the fields of law, social policy, disability studies and bioethics as well as practitioners and activists attempting to further disabled people's human rights, this truly interdisciplinary book will be of interest to students and researchers of disability, law, social policy and human rights.

Excerpt

This collection of essays is concerned with disabled people’s right to life in its wider sense: the right not only to life, but to a life that is not intolerable, a life worth living and all that that connotes. The distinguished contributing authors have been asked to consider this question from a human rights perspective. In relation to the developed and developing world, such an approach has increasingly come to be seen as a significant framework both to aid understanding of the experiences of those who face oppression and to underpin social, legal and political measures to counter it. The concept of human rights is also increasingly being used to provide a unifying and defining paradigm for research on a wide range of topics across the boundaries of different academic disciplines. While the most basic of human rights, the right to life, is enshrined in international treaties and covenants as well as in domestic law in many countries, there is substantial evidence that for disabled people, this most fundamental of human rights can by no means be taken for granted on the same terms as their non-disabled peers. The law is seen as one element of a dynamic set of social, cultural and historical processes impacting on the human rights of disabled people. The book aims to chronicle attitudes and practices, to critically analyse changes that have occurred and to explore the extent to which such changes have been driven by social as well as legal developments.

This preliminary note must, perforce, draw attention to omissions and limitations. Drawing a boundary round the topic and deciding what should be included and what should be left out has not been easy. There is a danger that we shall inevitably appear to offer a partial account or to give only glancing attention to things that appear crucial to individuals or groups for whom the right to life signifies more than an academic debate. Inevitably, too, there are accounts and analyses of experiences that we desperately wished to see documented in the book but which we were unsuccessful in commissioning: an omission, therefore, does not necessarily indicate that an issue is regarded as less important.

It is perhaps inevitable that a book of this nature has ‘Western tendencies’ since the idea of a legally enforceable right to life for disabled people is more likely to find expression in the literature of developed nations.

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