Competing Rights in Context: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities

AuthorLauren Bates
Chapter 14
Competing Rights in Context:
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Lauren Bates
A. Introduction
It is an established principle of international human rights law
that rights are universal, indivisible, and interdependent.1 There
is no hierarchy of rights: all rights have equal status and cannot
  
example, civil and political rights cannot be fully achieved with-
out social and economic rights — poverty and lack of education
will inhibit the ability of individuals to exercise their democratic
rights. On the other hand, without civil and political rights, such
as voting rights, individuals are unlikely to be able to press for the
1 See, for example, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, UN-
GAOR, 1993, UN Doc A/CONF.157/23, online: UNHCR
refworld/docid/3ae6b39ec.html, which states that
All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and
interrelated. The international community must treat human rights
globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with
particularities and various historical, cultural and religious back-
grounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless
of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and
protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Lauren Bates
This does not mean, however, that there may not be tensions
 
rights claims are, or are perceived to be, in tension with each
other. Tensions are most acute when it may appear that one
In this sense, rights claims may be seen to compete with each
other. This raises extremely complex issues.
Although it is not unusual for competing rights claims to mani-
    -
religious, gender, or sexual orientation rights. This paper will ex-
context of particular types of rights, such as disability rights, for
      
to ground any approach to developing a framework to address
competing rights claims. The second is that the challenges of
competing rights may manifest differently in particular contexts,
and that these varying manifestations may be an element in
designing such a framework.
The approach of this paper is descriptive rather than prescrip-
tive. It is not intended to evaluate any particular approach to ad-
dressing competing rights claims but to highlight some aspects
of disability rights that may differentiate competing rights claims
in this area from those in other areas, to identify the types of
competing rights claims that may manifest in the context of dis-
         
been made to such competing claims in this context.

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