Article 23 – United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 23 reaffirms that States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others, so as to ensure that:

a) The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and        to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is                recognized;

b) The rights of persons with disabilities to decide freely and responsibly on the                  number and spacing of their children and to have access to age-appropriate                        information, reproductive and family planning education are recognized, and the              means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights are provided;

c) Persons with disabilities, including children, retain their fertility on an equal basis         with others.

2. States Parties shall ensure the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities,     with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship, adoption of children or similar           institutions, where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the best             interests of the child shall be paramount. States Parties shall render appropriate                 assistance to persons with disabilities in the performance of their child-rearing                   responsibilities.

3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with               respect to family life. With a view to realizing these rights, and to prevent                             concealment,  abandonment, neglect and segregation of children with disabilities,             States Parties shall undertake to provide early and comprehensive information,                 services and support to children with disabilities and their families.

4. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents     against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review                   determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is       necessary for the best interests of the child. In no case shall a child be separated from       parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.

5. States Parties shall, where the immediate family is unable to care for a child with           disabilities, undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family,     and failing that, within the community in a family setting.