Topical Collection "Disability Human Rights Law"

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Editor

Collection Editor
Dr. Anna Arstein-Kerslake

Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, University Square, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton 3053, VIC, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Disability Rights Law; Discrimination Law; Feminist Legal Theory; Human Rights Law; International Law; Law and Society; Legal Education; Moral and Political Philosophy; Sexual Identities and the Law

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Disability Human Rights Law is an emerging field that this topical collection will help to shape. It is an amalgamation of human rights law, critical disability studies, and disability rights law. It uses a human rights framework, within the theoretical lens of critical disability studies, to identify, analyse, and propose solutions to human rights issues as they affect people with disabilities.

Disability Human Rights Law represents a shift in the field of human rights. The traditional, and potentially archaic, rights boundaries are broken down. Civil and political rights exist entwined with social, economic, and cultural rights. The rights of the community and the rights of the individual are not always distinguishable and are often dependent upon one another. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the epitome of this shift and the epicentre of a new wave of rights protection.

This topical collection focuses on this new field. It welcomes submissions on the broader impact of the field, as well as more targeted submissions on particular rights within the CRPD and beyond. The aim of the topical collection is to begin to explore the insights and potential of Disability Human Rights Law.

Dr. Anna Arstein-Kerslake
Collection Editor

 

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Keywords

  • Disability
  • Human Rights
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Accessibility
  • Legal Capacity
  • Intersectionality
  • Independent Living
  • Critical Disability Studies
  • Social Model
  • Disability Rights
  • Inclusive Education
  • Equal Recognition Before the Law
  • Freedom from Torture
  • Deprivations of Liberty
  • Political Participation
  • Equality

Published Papers (23 papers)

2018

Jump to: 2017, 2016

Open AccessArticle Models of Disability and Human Rights: Informing the Improvement of Built Environment Accessibility for People with Disability at Neighborhood Scale?
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
In the 21st century, even with the advent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the existing built environment still fails the neighborhood accessibility needs of people with disability. People with disabilities’ human right to the neighborhood
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In the 21st century, even with the advent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the existing built environment still fails the neighborhood accessibility needs of people with disability. People with disabilities’ human right to the neighborhood is, at face value, enshrined in legislation and ‘much’ built environment accessibility legislation is in place. But, built environment accessibility practice has been, and continues to be, shaped by a hidden discourse based on theoretical underpinnings little understood by built environment practitioners. Similarly, built environment practitioners have little understanding of either the diversity of the human condition or the accessibility needs of people with disability. In Australia, the operationalization of built environment accessibility rights is, via opaque legislation, not necessarily reflective of the lived experience of people with disability, and weak in terms of built environment spatial coverage. Empirically, little is known about the extent of built environment inaccessibility, particularly neighborhood inaccessibility. Therefore, the question explored in this paper is: How might an understanding of models of disability and human rights inform the improvement of built environment accessibility, for people with disability, at a neighborhood scale? Literature related to disability and human rights theory, built environment accessibility legislation primarily using Australia as an example, and built environment accessibility assessment is drawn together. This paper argues that built environment practitioners must recognize the disabling potency of current built environment practice, that built environment practitioners need to engage directly with people with disability to improve understanding of accessibility needs, and that improved measure, at neighborhood scale, of the extent of existing built environment inaccessibility is required. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Living on the Global Peripheries of Law: Disability Human Rights Law in Principle and in Practice in the Global South
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 20 February 2018
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Abstract
This article develops the notion that poorer nations of the Global South are particularly disadvantaged in terms of realizing disabled people's human rights in practice. This is because they are situated in what is termed the global peripheries of law. These are peripheries
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This article develops the notion that poorer nations of the Global South are particularly disadvantaged in terms of realizing disabled people's human rights in practice. This is because they are situated in what is termed the global peripheries of law. These are peripheries in which very limited human and financial resources are available to practically realize disability human rights (reflecting processes such as the outmigration of trained professionals, devaluation of currency as a condition of debt repayment, and dependence on agricultural exports and imports of expensive manufactured goods, including medicine, from the Global North). Being on the global peripheries of law also reflects legacies of colonial and neo-colonial violence and oppression in an unequal global capitalist order, such as ongoing and widespread violence against women and unsafe working conditions—both of which result in death and the geographically uneven production of impairment. This uneven production of impairment also needs to be considered as an important part of understanding disability human rights law in a global context. Following a brief overview of the U.N. convention on the human rights of disabled people and the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to provide a global legal context and of the Inter-American Human Rights System to provide a regional legal context, the article illustrates why it is so difficult to realize disabled people's human rights in practice in the Global South, through a case study of Guyana. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reconsidering Sheltered Workshops in Light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)
Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
Sheltered work and related practices remain a prevalent service for people with intellectual disabilities. However, as a result of being placed in these, participants overwhelmingly remain segregated and excluded from their wider communities. This paper explores whether, with the advent of the United
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Sheltered work and related practices remain a prevalent service for people with intellectual disabilities. However, as a result of being placed in these, participants overwhelmingly remain segregated and excluded from their wider communities. This paper explores whether, with the advent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we can at least begin to assess the equality implications of such placements and argue that the experience of segregation itself represents numerous rights violations and discrimination. Having considered traditional equality mechanisms and their bearing on people with intellectual disabilities, this discussion explores how far the Convention’s re-envisioning of the basic principles of equality can perhaps provide a more promising outlook and ideological stance. Indeed, during the Convention’s inception, the negotiations circled around the conflicting opinions as to the purpose, usefulness, and future of sheltered work, revealing the existing tensions between protection and autonomy, shrouding all disability policy discussions. As a result, the question of sheltered work is not explicitly addressed in the treaty and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have been unable to definitively declare that the practice of sheltered work constitutes an act of discrimination. However, the Committee does as times demand that sheltered workshops be phased out where it is obvious that the practice of sheltered work is directly linked to the exploitation of workers. Moreover, certain provisions in the Convention might help in determining wrongful discrimination in some, if limited, instances. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Freedom of Opinion and Expression: From the Perspective of Psychosocial Disability and Madness
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
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Abstract
This article argues that civil mental health laws operate to constrict how people think, understand, and speak about psychosocial disability, madness, and mental distress. It does so with reference to views and experiences of mental health service users and psychiatric survivors (users and
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This article argues that civil mental health laws operate to constrict how people think, understand, and speak about psychosocial disability, madness, and mental distress. It does so with reference to views and experiences of mental health service users and psychiatric survivors (users and survivors) and their/our accounts of disability, madness, and distress, such as those articulated by the emerging field of Mad studies. The analysis considers the application of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression that are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international human rights instruments to the mental health context. The article explores the suppression of freedom of opinion and expression that is effected through the symbolic violence of psychiatry and the mental health paradigm. Focusing on Australian legal frameworks, the article discusses how the material violence and coercion characterising mental health laws compound this process. It is further argued that civil mental health laws, by codifying the tenets of psychiatry and the mental health paradigm so as to render them largely unassailable, validate the ontological nullification of users and survivors. The foregoing analysis exposes dangers of adopting a functional test of mental capacity as the pre-eminent legal standard for authorising involuntary mental health interventions. It is suggested that considering freedom of opinion and expression from the perspective of psychosocial disability and madness reinforces the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ interpretation that such interventions are incompatible with international human rights standards. Full article

2017

Jump to: 2018, 2016

Open AccessArticle Unveiling the Challenges in the Implementation of Article 24 CRPD on the Right to Inclusive Education. A Case-Study from Italy
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 17 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 25 December 2017
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Abstract
Since the 1970s, Italy has undertaken a process of inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools, has implemented an anti-discriminatory educational policy, and abandoned segregated educational practices. In September 2014, the Italian Government initiated a process of “modernization” of the whole educational
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Since the 1970s, Italy has undertaken a process of inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools, has implemented an anti-discriminatory educational policy, and abandoned segregated educational practices. In September 2014, the Italian Government initiated a process of “modernization” of the whole educational system, and attempted to fully align domestic legislation with the wide-ranging obligations enshrined in Article 24 CRPD. Law No. 107/2015 on the reform of the educational system empowered the Government to adopt legislative decrees to promote inter alia an effective and inclusive education for persons with disabilities. After a long and somewhat troubled process, a legislative decree on inclusive education was finally adopted in April 2017. This article, building upon previous research, critically discusses the innovations brought by this recent reform, situating them in the broader Italian legislative framework on the rights of people with disabilities. By focusing on Italy as a case-study, this article aims to reflect on the challenges surrounding the creation of an inclusionary educational system that goes beyond a mere integration in mainstream schools and ensures full and effective participation of all learners, meeting the standards imposed by Article 24 CRPD. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Inclusion of the Lived Experience of Disability in Policymaking
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the process under way in Iceland to align national law with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, focusing on the Convention’s call for the active involvement of disabled people and their representative organizations in policy and
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This paper examines the process under way in Iceland to align national law with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, focusing on the Convention’s call for the active involvement of disabled people and their representative organizations in policy and decision making on matters that affect them. The paper draws on comments submitted by Icelandic DPOs on draft legislation intended to replace the existing law on services for disabled people, focusing on comments relating to their ability to participate in and affect the policymaking process. Furthermore, it draws on interviews with leaders of representative organizations of disabled people that solicited their views on the issue. The findings indicate that there is a reluctance on behalf of Icelandic authorities to make changes to the established process, which limits the active participation of disabled people and their representative organizations. The draft legislation has neither been revised to include provisions for expanding the participation of DPOs in policy and decision making, nor to ensure that disabled people themselves participate in the process. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle “More Honoured in the Breach than in the Observance”—Self-Advocacy and Human Rights
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
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Abstract
Background: Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), human rights have become central for disability advocacy. The CRPD requires that disabled people and their representative organisations (DPOs) have a prominent role in the implementation and
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Background: Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), human rights have become central for disability advocacy. The CRPD requires that disabled people and their representative organisations (DPOs) have a prominent role in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. However, the representation of people with intellectual disabilities or autistic people is still often indirect, carried out by parents or professionals. Methods: This is a qualitative research which looks at how self-advocates (SAs) with intellectual disabilities or autism participate in DPOs and how they see the role of human rights and laws such as the CRPD in their advocacy. Data was collected in the UK and in Hungary between October 2016 and May 2017. A total of 43 advocates (SAs and other advocates) were interviewed. For the analysis, thematic analysis was used. Results: findings indicate that most participants have limited knowledge of the CRPD and human rights. Human rights are usually seen as vague and distant ideas, less relevant to everyday lives. SAs may not feel competent to talk about the CRPD. The inclusion of SAs in DPOs is mostly tokenistic, lacking real participation. Conclusions: The CRPD can only bring meaningful change to SAs if they get full membership in DPOs. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Prioritising Supported Decision-Making: Running on Empty or a Basis for Glacial-To-Steady Progress?
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (224 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Honouring the requirement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to introduce supported decision-making (SD) has largely been a case of much talk and little real action. As a socio-economic right, actualising support is resource-intensive as well as being fairly
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Honouring the requirement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to introduce supported decision-making (SD) has largely been a case of much talk and little real action. As a socio-economic right, actualising support is resource-intensive as well as being fairly uncharted territory in terms of what works, to what degree and for how long benefits last. This paper, drawing lightly on mainly Australian examples, considers unexplored (and sometimes unorthodox) approaches such as the ‘needs-based’ principle for setting social welfare priorities as possible ways of revitalising SD through progressive realisation, whether through civil society programs or under the law. It argues that pure repeal of proxy decision-making on its own is not viable in realpolitik terms so progressive realisation of ‘repeal with adequate support’ must instead be devised for SD implementation to progress. Full article
Open AccessArticle Some Parents Are More Equal than Others: Discrimination against People with Disabilities under Adoption Law
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) explicitly includes ‘the adoption of children’ as a right to which people with disabilities are equally entitled. Despite the CRPD having been in force for over nine years, research is
[...] Read more.
Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) explicitly includes ‘the adoption of children’ as a right to which people with disabilities are equally entitled. Despite the CRPD having been in force for over nine years, research is yet to consider whether CRPD signatory states have brought their respective adoption regimes in line with their obligations under art 23 of the CRPD. Using the laws of the Australian state of Victoria by way of case study, this article aims to shed light on the difficulties people with disabilities still face when attempting to adopt children. In terms of methodology, this article conducts an interpretive critique of Victoria’s adoption law against art 23 of the CRPD, which it interprets mainly through the lens of the social model of disability. Ultimately, this article finds that Victoria’s adoption framework closely resembles the adoption regimes of many other CRPD signatories, yet it clearly fails to uphold Australia’s obligations under the CRPD. This is both as a result of the words of the legislation as well as their implementation in practice. This article proposes a suite of changes, both legislative and cultural, to bring Victoria’s adoption framework in line with art 23, which it hopes will serve as a catalyst for change in other CRPD signatory states. Full article
Open AccessArticle Protection for Privacy under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Article 22 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) protects personal and family privacy and reputation. This paper examines the antecedents of the CRPD privacy article in other international instruments and selected domestic law. It traces the history of
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Article 22 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) protects personal and family privacy and reputation. This paper examines the antecedents of the CRPD privacy article in other international instruments and selected domestic law. It traces the history of the article through the deliberations that led up to the final version of the CRPD, which has now been ratified by 173 nations. It analyzes the text of the article and discusses its limited administrative and judicial applications. Finally, it describes the article’s place in current thinking about disability human rights. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Drawing the Line: Disability, Genetic Intervention and Bioethics
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 9 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
Meteoric scientific advances in genetic technologies with the potential for human gene editing intervention pose tremendous legal, medical, social, ethical and moral issues for society as a whole. Persons with disabilities in particular have a significant stake in determining how these technologies are
[...] Read more.
Meteoric scientific advances in genetic technologies with the potential for human gene editing intervention pose tremendous legal, medical, social, ethical and moral issues for society as a whole. Persons with disabilities in particular have a significant stake in determining how these technologies are governed at the international, domestic and individual levels in the future. However, the law cannot easily keep up with the rate of scientific progression. This paper aims to posit a methodology of reform, based on a core value of human dignity, as the optimal course of action to ensure that the interests of persons with disabilities, other possibly marginalised groups, and the scientific community, are balanced fairly. The paper critically analyses the current law and varying bioethical perspectives to ultimately conclude that a clear principled approach toward open discussion and consensus is of paramount importance to have any chance of devising an effective regulatory regime over human gene editing technology. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Victims of Violence: The Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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Abstract
This paper considers the issue of forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in the Australian context. It examines the history and ideological underpinning of this practice, the current Australian regime and the present rationales for court or tribunal authorisation of a
[...] Read more.
This paper considers the issue of forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in the Australian context. It examines the history and ideological underpinning of this practice, the current Australian regime and the present rationales for court or tribunal authorisation of a sterilising procedure. It is by no means an exhaustive coverage, but aims to critically analyse the current system and make recommendations for reform of Australian law and policy. This paper ultimately concludes that the practice of forced sterilisation in Australia should be criminalised, save for exceptional circumstances. Full article

2016

Jump to: 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle Harmonisation and Cross-Fertilisation of Socio-Economic Rights in the Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Disability and the Reasonableness Review Case Study
Received: 19 May 2016 / Revised: 20 July 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 25 September 2016
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Abstract
In light of the recent adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (OP-CRPD), there is a necessity for harmonisation among
[...] Read more.
In light of the recent adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (OP-CRPD), there is a necessity for harmonisation among the treaty bodies, particularly in the area of socio-economic rights. The equality norm in the CRPD, including the duty to reasonably accommodate, is an important facilitator of socio-economic rights. This article sets forth the opportunities for cross-fertilisation of socio-economic rights, and disability rights in particular, at the level of international human rights law and beyond, as well as the potential that exists for social change at the domestic level. The CRPD Committee and the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) will undertake the task of assessing measures adopted by States related to alleged violations under the optional protocols and will determine compliance with treaty obligations under the State reporting procedure. In that regard, a framework of “reasonableness review” is proposed, which could provide the opportunity to merge individual rights’ violations with broader issues of socio-economic inequalities and could also lead to coherent implementation of the normative content of socio-economic rights at the domestic level. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Disability in a Human Rights Context
Received: 23 May 2016 / Revised: 6 July 2016 / Accepted: 12 July 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
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Abstract
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a modern human rights treaty with innovative components. It impacts on disability studies as well as human rights law. Two innovations are scrutinized in this article: the model of disability and the
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The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a modern human rights treaty with innovative components. It impacts on disability studies as well as human rights law. Two innovations are scrutinized in this article: the model of disability and the equality and discrimination concepts of the CRPD. It is argued that the CRPD manifests a shift from the medical model to the human rights model of disability. Six propositions are offered why and how the human rights model differs from the social model of disability. It is further maintained that the CRPD introduces a new definition of discrimination into international public law. The underlying equality concept can be categorized as transformative equality with both individual and group oriented components. The applied methodology of this research is legal doctrinal analysis and disability studies model analysis. The main finding is that the human rights model of disability improves the social model of disability. Three different models of disability can be attributed to different concepts of equality. The medical model corresponds with formal equality, while the social model with substantive equality and the human rights model can be linked with transformative equality. Full article
Open AccessArticle Strengthening the Voice of Persons with Mental Health Problems in Legal Capacity Proceedings
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 10 June 2016 / Accepted: 24 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
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Abstract
Despite the standards set out by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), states are reluctant to put an end to substitute decision-making regimes all at once. Persons with mental health problems are particularly affected by such regimes
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Despite the standards set out by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), states are reluctant to put an end to substitute decision-making regimes all at once. Persons with mental health problems are particularly affected by such regimes that are instituted by independent authorities through legal capacity proceedings. In order to allow the person to express their will and preferences throughout the proceedings, the right to be heard is of primary importance for the person concerned. The objective of this paper is to review the essential support mechanisms as well as procedural accommodations for the implementation of an equal and effective right to be heard for persons with mental health problems. Fulfilling the right to be heard in legal capacity proceedings is a step towards more individualized regimes that promote the autonomy of the person. Full article
Open AccessArticle Uneasy Bedfellows: Social Justice and Neo-Liberal Practice in the Housing Market
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 1 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 13 June 2016
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Abstract
The Australian state has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which emphasizes a social justice-based, personalized service delivery model. The upcoming National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reflects this model and aims to facilitate people living with a disability
[...] Read more.
The Australian state has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which emphasizes a social justice-based, personalized service delivery model. The upcoming National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reflects this model and aims to facilitate people living with a disability being able to access services while housed within the private residential market, a move away from a state-based combined residential/service care model. However, in Australia’s neo-liberal housing market government intervention tends to shy away from policies that overtly impose restrictions on private firms. Therefore, in the absence of a subsidy from the state, the CRPD is of limited use in encouraging private developers to improve the appropriateness of its new built stock for people with a disability. A more persuasive approach is to highlight the size, diversity, and economic power of the disability-friendly housing consumer market when housing provision is separated from disability care delivery. This paper examines the feasibility of sustaining innovation in the volume builder housing market by aligning accessibility promoting changes to the existing innovation channels within Australian firms, suggesting that the NDIS concentrate on assisting the housing industry transition to a make-to-order model from the current make-to-forecast one. Full article
Open AccessArticle Are Cutbacks to Personal Assistance Violating Sweden’s Obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 29 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires states to ensure that disabled people can choose where and with whom they live with access to a range of services including personal assistance. Based on qualitative research of
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Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires states to ensure that disabled people can choose where and with whom they live with access to a range of services including personal assistance. Based on qualitative research of the implementation of Article 19 in Nordic countries, this paper focuses on Sweden, which was at the forefront of implementing personal assistance law and policy and has been the inspiration for many European countries. Instead of strengthening access to personal assistance, this study found that since the Swedish government ratified the Convention in 2008, there has been an increase in the numbers of people losing state-funded personal assistance and an increase in rejected applications. This paper examines the reasons for the deterioration of eligibility criteria for accessing personal assistance in Sweden. The findings shed light on how legal and administrative interpretations of “basic needs” are shifting from a social to a medical understanding. They also highlight a shift from collaborative policy making towards conflict, where courts have become the battleground for defining eligibility criteria. Drawing on the findings, we ask if Sweden is violating its obligations under the Convention. Full article
Open AccessOpinion A Word of Caution: Human Rights, Disability, and Implementation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 14 May 2016
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Abstract
On 25 September 2015, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously voted for the post-2015 UN resolution on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda. This article argues that although the post-2015 SDG agenda is an advance on its precursor the Millennium Development
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On 25 September 2015, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously voted for the post-2015 UN resolution on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda. This article argues that although the post-2015 SDG agenda is an advance on its precursor the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—especially for progressing the human rights of persons with disabilities in development settings, everywhere—it should nonetheless be approached with caution. This article will identify “three steps forward” for persons with disabilities within the broad content of the post-2015 SDGs, while also highlighting four potential “steps back”. It concludes persons with disabilities, disability rights advocates and their supporters must remain vigilant as the post-SDG UN resolution is now operationalised and implemented by UN Member States and their many partners. This is particularly so if the content of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to be effectively integrated into the post-2015 development policy and planning landscape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle NGO-Ization and Human Rights Law: The CRPD’s Civil Society Mandate
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 1 May 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 11 May 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is unique among international human rights instruments for including a “civil society mandate”. Within the convention, disabled persons organizations (DPOs) are identified as having the responsibility to “be involved and participate fully in
[...] Read more.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is unique among international human rights instruments for including a “civil society mandate”. Within the convention, disabled persons organizations (DPOs) are identified as having the responsibility to “be involved and participate fully in the monitoring process” of the CRPD. In response to this mandate, international funders, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and networks committed to the CPRD have begun to implement capacity-building programs that target grassroots DPOs with the goal of ensuring they become advocates and monitors of the CRPD. While the goals of these capacity-building programs are admirable, they must be critically assessed. The NGO-ization theory within development studies offers a framework for analyzing the potential unintended consequences of donors providing new funding, NGOs providing training, and global networks integrating local partners. NGO-ization studies have identified how grassroots associations are co-opted by outside actors through formalization and professionalization processes that significantly alter local groups and alienate members, thus making those associations less representative and less responsive to local needs and interests. Human rights scholars and international organizations focused on the CRPD should incorporate an NGO-ization perspective into their research and project-implementation to ensure that grassroots voices are heard and local needs addressed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can International Human Rights Law Help Restore Access to Justice for Disabled Workers?
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (264 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The research literature indicates that legislative changes in recent years, including the introduction of tribunal fees, have made it harder for workers in general to enforce their rights under UK employment laws. Drawing on the author’s qualitative study, conducted in 2015 and with
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The research literature indicates that legislative changes in recent years, including the introduction of tribunal fees, have made it harder for workers in general to enforce their rights under UK employment laws. Drawing on the author’s qualitative study, conducted in 2015 and with information from 265 participants, this paper finds that these legislative changes could be having disproportionate adverse impacts on disabled workers. Of particular note, fees had deterred substantial numbers from submitting discrimination claims; and it appeared that this reluctance to take legal action had in turn emboldened some employers to commit what might have been found to constitute unlawful acts if taken to tribunal. The paper goes onto consider whether these adverse impacts on disabled workers could render fees unlawful under UK and European equality and human rights law and/or could entail violations of rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The paper concludes that the intent behind UK laws might (in relation to the lawfulness of fees) have been frustrated in the domestic courts and that the impact of any future successes in the domestic courts, or under international law, might be dependent upon public opinion and political expediency. The paper also briefly compares developments in Britain with developments in neighbouring and other comparable jurisdictions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Germany without Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry—A 15 Month Real World Experience
Received: 28 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
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Abstract
Coercive treatment with antipsychotic drugs was commonly used in German psychiatric institutions until it became a topic of substantial medical, legal and ethical controversy. In 2011 and 2012, several landmark decisions by Germany’s Constitutional Court and Federal Supreme Court challenged this practice in
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Coercive treatment with antipsychotic drugs was commonly used in German psychiatric institutions until it became a topic of substantial medical, legal and ethical controversy. In 2011 and 2012, several landmark decisions by Germany’s Constitutional Court and Federal Supreme Court challenged this practice in all but life-threatening emergencies. In March 2013, the new legal provisions governing coercive treatment took effect allowing coercive medication under stricter criteria. While mainstream psychiatry in Germany resumed the use of coercive medication, although less frequently than before 2012, there are examples where clinicians put an even greater emphasis on consensual treatment and did not return to coercive treatment. Data from a case study in a local mental health service suggest that the use of coercive medication could be made obsolete. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Legal Capacity and Access to Justice: The Right to Participation in the CRPD
Received: 24 December 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
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Abstract
This article provides an applied analysis of Article 12 (Equal recognition before the law) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Article 13 (Access to justice) in the context of Article 6 (Women with disabilities). Recent literature on
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This article provides an applied analysis of Article 12 (Equal recognition before the law) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Article 13 (Access to justice) in the context of Article 6 (Women with disabilities). Recent literature on the CRPD has extended the analysis of Article 12 to consider its broader relevance for the interpretation of Article 13. The interaction between Article 12 and Article 13 is an emerging issue in CRPD debates. This article argues that the CRPD must be interpreted in light of current human rights theory. It provides a case study of the interaction between Article 12 and Article 13 based on the facts recited in the Court of Appeal case in the United Kingdom (RP v Nottingham City Council (2008)) and RP’s petition to the European Court of Human Rights (RP and Others v United Kingdom (2012)). The analysis shows that CRPD principles could and should have been applied in RP’s case. It concludes that current practices excluding people with disabilities from participation in legal proceedings are contrary to the CRPD. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assumptions of Decision-Making Capacity: The Role Supporter Attitudes Play in the Realisation of Article 12 for People with Severe or Profound Intellectual Disability
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 31 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
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Abstract
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was the first legally binding instrument explicitly focused on how human rights apply to people with disability. Amongst their obligations, consistent with the social model of disability, the Convention requires signatory
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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was the first legally binding instrument explicitly focused on how human rights apply to people with disability. Amongst their obligations, consistent with the social model of disability, the Convention requires signatory nations to recognise that “…persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life” and mandates signatory nations to develop “…appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disability to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity”. The Convention promotes supported decision-making as one such measure. Although Australia ratified the UNCRPD in 2008, it retains an interpretative declaration in relation to Article 12 (2, 3, 4), allowing for the use of substituted decision-making in situations where a person is assessed as having no or limited decision-making capacity. Such an outcome is common for people with severe or profound intellectual disability because the assessments they are subjected to are focused on their cognition and generally fail to take into account the interdependent nature of human decision-making. This paper argues that Australia’s interpretative declaration is not in the spirit of the Convention nor the social model of disability on which it is based. It starts from the premise that the intention of Article 12 is to be inclusive of all signatory nations’ citizens, including those with severe or profound cognitive disability. From this premise, arises a practical need to understand how supported decision-making can be used with this group. Drawing from evidence from an empirical study with five people with severe or profound intellectual disability, this paper provides a rare glimpse on what supported decision-making can look like for people with severe or profound intellectual disability. Additionally, it describes the importance of supporters having positive assumptions of decision-making capacity as a factor affecting supported decision-making. This commentary aims to give a focus for practice and policy efforts for ensuring people with severe or profound cognitive disability receive appropriate support in decision-making, a clear obligation of signatory nations of the UNCRPD. A focus on changing supporter attitudes rather than placing the onus of change on people with disability is consistent with the social model of disability, a key driver of the UNCRPD. Full article
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