Taking advantage of the special consulting status bestowed by The UN Economic and Social Council, Ordo Iuris calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein to take a stand against a series of human and children’s rights violations which took place in the case of Alfie Evans.
Alfie Evans, after many days of struggle for his life, passed away in Great Britain during the night on April 28th at 3:30 a.m., when he was disconnected from life support on April 23rd. The procedure of his killing was begun following the exhaustion of all legal possibilities in which his parents could intervene. Since December 2017, Ordo Iuris has assisted British lawyers as well as the child’s parents in legal struggles and in the search for a hospital willing and ready to accept the boy. Just yesterday, Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, expressed his thanks to Polish lawyers for their support.
In a letter submitted to the High Commissioner on April 28th, the Ordo Iuris Institute presents their legal position and outlined the history of legal struggles that burdened Alfie Evans and his parents, as well as the subsequent unfavorable rulings of British courts and the European Court of Human Rights. The position draws attention to the circumstances of the case, omitted by the courts and tribunals, including favorable opinions of Polish doctors examining the child and the unambiguous readiness of foreign centers (Rome, Milan, Munich) to accept the child in order to conduct an in-depth diagnosis and continue his treatment.
Ordo Iuris points out a serious and profound violation of international human rights guarantees, including the right of parents to choose therapy and to decide how to protect the child’s welfare, as well as the child’s right to access the highest standard of health and medical care. In the Institute’s opinion, there are numerous positions of the Human Rights Committee and the Children’s Rights Committee, with which the actions of British courts are in obvious contradiction.
The position indicates violations of international guarantees of human rights protection, i.e. art 6, 7, and 24 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 3, 6, 18, 24, 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and art. 5, 7, 10, 12 and 26 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights should also take into account the degree of involvement of the international public opinion and the international community in the defense of Alfie Evans. Ordo Iuris points out that Pope Francis was involved in the boy’s defense and provided medical air transport to the Infant Jesus Hospital in Rome. Several Polish, American, and Brazilian bishops stood in defense of the boy. Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Beata Szydło, and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani expressed their concern about the violations on Alfie Evan’s rights and that of his parents. The British member of the House of Commons, Stephen Woolfie, presented a bill called "Alfie's law", aimed at strengthening the rights of parents in similar situations. Doctors from The Medical Ethical Alliance in the United Kingdom condemned the actions taken against the boy by doctors at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.
According to numerous opinions expressed by the international community, non-governmental organizations and experts, the precedential case of Alfie Evans poses a serious threat to the implementation of international guarantees to protect family life, parenthood, the right to life, and the highest standard of health protection.
“The High Commissioner for Human Rights cannot remain silent on this matter. His task is to face the challenges of fully implementing all human rights and preventing their abuse throughout the world. In this matter, the contemporary problems of the international human rights system are concentrated in a lens in the year of the 70th anniversary of enacting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” – attorney Jerzy Kwaśniewski, the Ordo Iuris President sums up.
Opinion of the Ordo Iuris to the UN High Comissioner for Human Rights: DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
The Ordo Iuris institute has submitted a special report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in order to direct its attention to the issues surrounding the lives of disabled children before birth and the insufficient protection of their lives in the Polish legislation.
On 6 October this year, Ordo Iuris Institute, joined by 17 pro-life organizations from Canada and Poland, submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee its position on the draft General Comment to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.