Tuesday seminar with Kjersti Skarstad
The right to self-determination is fundamental to the realization of human rights. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) obligates States Parties to ensure that all persons with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities (ID), have an equal right to self-determination. In this article, I operationalize five core human rights principles to analytically evaluate how states protect the right to self-determination of persons with ID. I invoke this set of principles to assess the performance of Norway. I find that denial of self-determination in Norway is extensive, and that in practice a whole group of persons with ID do not have the human right to self-determination because they are seen as not being competent to make decisions. Based on the results I give some advice as to how practice can be improved both in Norway and elsewhere. Most importantly, the right to self- determination should not be denied if the person is perceived as not being competent. In cases where the individual cannot express a clear preference, knowledge about the interests, personality and lived experiences of the individual should be used to infer what the decision of the individual is.