Support for decision-making is an emerging concept in law and policy, often linked to the aim of enabling greater autonomy and legal recognition for people with mental disabilities or mental ill health. The concept has gained significant traction internationally in connection with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by the UK in 2009. Article 12 of Convention requires a shift from substituted decision-making based on mental incapacity or impartment, to supported decision-making. However, significant questions remain about the implementation of this requirement in policy and practice. This paper explores the idea that answers to at least some of these practical questions depend on how the purpose of human rights is understood. This idea points to unrecognised dilemmas in the implementation of support for decision-making, and is used to understand some challenges in advocacy discourse on this issue.
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