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African Human Rights Law Journal

versão On-line ISSN 1996-2096
versão impressa ISSN 1609-073X

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OFUANI, Anwuli Irene. Protecting adolescent girls with intellectual disabilities from involuntary sterilisation in Nigeria: Lessons from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2017, vol.17, n.2, pp.550-570. ISSN 1996-2096.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/1996-2096/2017/v17n2a9.

Adolescent girls with intellectual disabilities are highly susceptible to involuntary sterilisation in Nigeria. Existing Nigerian laws contain no provisions expressly prohibiting involuntary sterilisation and the provisions that could be indirectly applied are inadequate. Accordingly, this article seeks to draw lessons from the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that are pertinent to protecting adolescent girls with intellectual disabilities from involuntary sterilisation in Nigeria. In doing this, it examines four provisions of the CRPD, namely, the rights to respect for home and the family (article 23); health (article 25); equality and non-discrimination (article 5); and equal recognition before the law (article 12). The right to retain fertility in article 23 can unequivocally be construed as prohibiting involuntary sterilisation of persons with disabilities. In Nigeria, the recognition of people's right to consent to medical procedures, including sterilisation, determines whether or not they are allowed to consent to such procedures. Accordingly, a lack of informed consent results in third parties making decisions about sterilisation without consulting those about whom the decisions are made. Also, involuntary sterilisation is an issue of inequality and discrimination and, thus, the right to equality and non-discrimination is very important in protecting adolescent girls with intellectual disabilities from involuntary sterilisation. The article contends that the CRPD provides an avenue for challenging the discrimination and inequality that sterilisation presents for adolescent girls with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria, and makes recommendations based on the provisions of the CRPD.

Palavras-chave : adolescent; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; girls; intellectual disabilities; sterilisation.

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