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Archie Battersbee’s parents want United Nations to consider youngster’s case

They say the UN has a protocol which allows ‘individuals and families’ to make complaints about violations of disabled people’s rights.

27 July 2022

The parents of a 12-year-old boy left in a comatose state after suffering brain damage want the United Nations to consider the case after losing life-support treatment fights in London courts.

Archie Battersbee’s mother and father, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, say the UN has a protocol which allows “individuals and families” to make complaints about violations of disabled people’s rights.

They say the UN could ask the UK Government to delay the withdrawal of life support to Archie while a complaint is investigated.

Three Court of Appeal judges on Monday upheld a ruling by a High Court judge who had decided that doctors could lawfully stop treating Archie.

A lawyer representing Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, had asked appeal judges to “stay” the termination of treatment to allow time for consideration of an application to the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) in Strasbourg, France.

Appeal judges imposed a stay and said Archie’s parents could have until 2pm on Wednesday to make an application to the European court.

They are being supported by a campaign group called the Christian Legal Centre.

A spokesman for the centre said on Wednesday that appeal judges had extended that deadline to 2pm on Thursday after lawyers made a further request in writing.

But the spokesman indicated that Archie’s parents had considered options and would prefer to take their case the UN.

The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London
Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“The ECHR has a track record of rejecting applications from parents in end-of-life cases such as Archie’s,” he said.

“The UK has joined the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which permits individuals and families to make complaints about violations of rights of disabled people.

“The UN, like the ECHR, may ask the UK Government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint is being investigated.”

The PA news agency understands that nothing in any order made by Court of Appeal judges would prevent Archie’s parents from applying to the UN.
 
Judges have heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7. She thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

Archie Battersbee’s father Paul Battersbee
Archie Battersbee’s father Paul Battersbee (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions on what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.

A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge.

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