Rights of special groups
In the field of human rights, growing attention has been devoted to the rights of persons belonging to specific groups, often called “vulnerable groups”. People belonging to these groups have certain common characteristics or are in a situation that have been shown to make these people more vulnerable to discrimination. They are especially “vulnerable”, because these grounds for discrimination have been overlooked or insufficiently addressed in general human rights instruments. New instruments are therefore needed to protect and promote the rights of these people, focussing on specific characteristics and situations, such as age, gender, social situation etc. These groups include indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, refugees, migrant workers, women, children, people with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities and older persons.
Whereas the concept of a special regime for certain groups has been developed during the last few years by the UN the human rights and fundamental freedoms of marginalized and vulnerable people remain vastly underserved. Persons with disabilities are often affected by this lack of protection, as many of them suffer double or multiple discrimination, due to their disability, their age and social status, for instance. Among the most marginalized of these groups, such as ethnic minorities, refugees or persons with HIV/AIDS, the rate of disability is higher than among the rest of the population.
When specific instruments do exist, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the Convention on all Forms of Discrimination against Women, persons with disabilities should benefit from the protection they offer, in addition to disability-specific instruments. This part looks at the rights of special groups with disabilities who are doubly vulnerable to discrimination.