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The Rights of People with an Intellectual Disability in the Netherlands: From Restriction to Development

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The purpose of this article is to discuss whether the right to self-determination 1 is the only and the best principle in health law for care providers to support their clients with an intellectual disability, or whether other principles such as the right to development, the right to good care and the right to protection might lead to a better protection of the rights of clients in this field of care. The right to self-determination is the central principle in the Dutch Psychiatric Hospitals (Compulsory Admissions) Act, which at times seems less than beneficial to the legal position of persons with an intellectual disability. The question is whether a new (alternative) legal framework, in which the focus shifts to the right to good care and the right to development, might improve the legal position of people with an intellectual disability.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public and Occupational Health/ EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands


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