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Archie Battersbee’s family seek to take life support battle to UN

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The family of Archie Battersbee want the United Nations to consider his case after losing life-support treatment fights in the UK’s High Court.

The 12-year-old’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 hope the UN could ask the UK government to delay the withdrawal of life support to Archie while a complaint is investigated.

Archie has relied on mechanical ventilation since being admitted to hospital on 7 April, when he was found unconscious with a ligature over his head.

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

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.

The boy’s parents have now said they will apply to the Supreme Court for the case to be heard at the UN.

Archie Battersbee was found by his mother in April

(PA)

Archie’s family claim that stopping his life support would breach 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.

These obligations on the UK require nations to take all necessary measures to ensure disabled people enjoy equal rights and that governments should do all they can to prevent the deaths of children and young people.

Archie’s parents have have also been given more time to make an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

A lawyer representing Ms Dance and MrBattersbee had asked appeal judges to “stay” the termination of treatment to allow time for consideration of an application to the European court.

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

A spokesperson for the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the family, said on Wednesday that appeal judges had extended that deadline to 2pm on Thursday, after lawyers made a further written request.

They family could ask judges at the European Court of Human Rights to intervene after losing the latest round of a treatment fight in London.

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

“The ECHR has a track record of rejecting applications from parents in end-of-life cases such as Archie’s,” they 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 parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, standing outside the Royal Courts Of Justice in London

(PA)

There were reports on Wednesday that the Court of Appeal had blocked the family from taking their fight to the UN, but the PA news agency said it understood that nothing in any order would prevent Archie’s parents from applying.

Evidence presented to the UK’s High Court has showed that Archie is in a “comatose state”.

The court heard that Ms Dance found her son unconscious on 7 April and that she thought her son may have been taking part in an online challenge.

The 12-year-old has not regained consciousness since that date.

The High Court ruling for the withdrawl of Archie’s life-support treatment had been stayed for the two days following the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday pending applications to any international tribunals.

Archie’s father Paul was feared to have suffered a heart attack or stroke shortly before Court of Appeal judges ruled that the youngster could be disconnected from a ventilator.

He left hospital on Wednesday, according to a family spokesperson.

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