“Eugenics and human rights, issues of prenatal screening:” this is the theme of a round table discussion which will gather the European associations of people with Down syndrome mobilized by the initiative “Stop Eugenics Now” at the Council of Europe, on June 28th. This is the first time that so many organizations, dedicated to persons with Down syndrome and disabilities, have mobilized at the European level to denounce eugenics and discrimination. To date, 25 national organizations have already signed the statement “Eugenics is not a human right,” which is posted on this website: www.stopeugenicsnow.org.
This round table discussion is intended to raise the awareness of institutions about the eugenic current of European society. It takes place just as the European Court of Human Rights has been requested by the case of Anita Krüzmane v. Latvia to recognize, as a human right, systematic prenatal screening procedures that lead to the elimination of children with Down syndrome, in the name of the right to privacy and health of the mother. In fact, Anita Krüzmane complains that her Down syndrome daughter survived the eugenic procedure of “screening-elimination.”
Following the discussion, a draft Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe “Combatting eugenics and discrimination against people with disabilities” will be presented by Mr. Luca Volontè, Italian MP and President of the EPP group. This Resolution will remind the States of their obligations toward people with disabilities who now face the tragedy of their systematic elimination and discrimination. Under European and international law, States have an obligation to protect the life and health of every person, in particular people with disabilities. However, in France for example, 96% of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are eliminated, and prenatal screening is becoming more and more systematic.
Delegates of organizations dedicated to persons with Down syndrome and disabilities from many countries, including Italy, Russia, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, and MP’s, officials, and diplomats of the Council of Europe will participate in the round table.
Patrick Clarke, Executive Director of Down syndrome Ireland, and Jean-Marie Le Méné, President of Foundation Jérôme Lejeune, will speak along with Luca Volontè and Grégor Puppinck, Director of the ECLJ.
For Grégor Puppinck, “people with disabilities, like other categories of people in other times, today have an obligation to demonstrate their humanity in order to enjoy the protection of human rights. Faced with this, we must work, not only to humanize our view of disability, but also to ‘rehumanize’ human rights, because there is a tendency to develop a very abstract and disembodied idea of man, an idea which may finally prove inhuman, as demonstrated by the consecration of a “right to eugenics”. The content of human rights is dependant upon our conception of human nature.”
This round table discussion will take place on Thursday, June 28, 2012, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, beginning at 1pm. It is open to the public (registration required: email email@example.com). This conference is organized by the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ, Strasbourg) and the collective European “Stop Eugenics Now,” with support from the European People’s Party.