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AE and disability organisations welcome Bulgaria’s objection to the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention

Autism-Europe, together with other disability organisations, welcome Bulgaria’s leadership in objecting against the draft additional protocol to the Oviedo Convention, which, if adopted, would authorise forced treatment and forced placement, notably in institutions of persons with disabilities, in particular persons with psychosocial disabilities. These practices are unacceptable under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

While the opposition of Portugal to the draft was reported, Bulgaria is the first country to publicly object against the Council of Europe’s draft Additional Protocol “concerning the protection of human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorder with regard to involuntary placement and involuntary treatment”.

It makes it the first European state to officially declare that the Council of Europe move away from institutionalization and involuntary treatment of persons with psychosocial, intellectual and other disabilities.

The objection against this addition to Council of Europe’s Oviedo Convention on biomedicine was announced during the 20th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Bulgaria’s position against the draft illustrates the world’s current developments in the field of on human rights, shifting away from exclusion and towards supporting each person to exercise their rights and will.

We strongly welcome this statement and encourage other Member States of the Council of Europe to join Portugal and Bulgaria in this effort to withdraw the draft additional protocol. If adopted, the protocol will allow serious human rights breaches, solidify institutionalisation of persons with disabilities and runs counter the rights established by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Statement’s endorsers:

The Oviedo Convention

Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, better known as the Oviedo Convention, is a Europeanlegally binding instrument on the protection of human rights in the biomedical field.  It establishes that human rights must come before other considerations in the field of biomedicine. It lays down a series of principles and prohibitions concerning bioethics, medical research, consent, rights to private life and information, organ transplantation, public debate etc.

Despite its name, the “Draft Additional Protocol concerning the protection of human rights and dignity of persons with a mental disorder with regard to involuntary placement and involuntary treatment” would not protect such persons and would authorize some forms of involuntary placement and treatment of persons with disabilities.

Related information

Press Release in PDF | Word

Autism-Europe and other disability organisations urge Council of Europe to withdraw Addition Protocol of Oviedo Convention

About EDF’s campaign

Mental Health Europe statement

ENUSP’s page on the Draft Additional Protocol

#WithdrawOviedo campaign