Press Release

Archie Battersbee: Parents make last-ditch application to the United Nations

29 July 2022         Issued by: Christian Concern

The parents of Archie Battersbee have made a last-ditch application to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNRPD) following the refusal of the UK’s Supreme Court to intervene in the case yesterday (28 July).

The court order for the removal of life-support came into effect at 2pm yesterday, but the family lawyers are seeking assurances that Royal London Hospital will not begin removing treatment while the parents apply to the UNRPD.

Archie’s parents want the UNRPD to consider Archie’s case, arguing it has a protocol that allows “individuals and families” to make complaints about violations of disabled people’s rights.

The UK has joined the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which enabled the UNRPD to ask the UK government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint is investigated.

The family argue that stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

The mother of Archie, Hollie Dance, said: “Words cannot describe how devastated we are. The pressure put on us from the beginning to rush through the process of ending Archie’s life has been disgraceful.  

“All we have ever asked for is for more time. The urgency from the hospital and the courts is unexplained when other parties have been happy for us to have more time.

“I don’t believe there is anything ‘dignified’ about planning Archie’s death. For me, this would be the most traumatic outcome.

“Parents need support not pressure. It is exhausting what we have been through. We should not have to endlessly battle the hospital in the courts for what we believe is right for Archie.

“Top judges have told us, however, that this is the law, if this so, the law must change.  

“We will continue fighting for Archie, we will not give up and now await the response from the UNRPD.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “A system with ‘the best interests of a child’ truly at its heart, would never force the child’s parents into such an ordeal. A civilised system would work gently with the parents, respecting life, faith, and liberty. 

“This case has addressed fundamental legal issues on defining death. To weaken protections at the end of life, with humanist concepts of ‘best interests to die’ and ‘dignity in death’ running paramount will weaken those protections.

“We continue to pray for, support and stand with Archie’s parents who have faced no alternative but to turn to the UN as they continue to fight for Archie’s life.”

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