Disability, Human Rights, and Development

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2015

This course will examine the current and future status of disability rights as a focus for both human rights theory and for thinking about what constitutes development and development assistance. After reviewing the historical status of disabled persons both practically and within the international human rights system, we will examine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century. The CRPD has, on its face, dramatically raised the standards for how disability rights are conceived, developed, and implemented around the globe while also pushing human rights jurisprudence in new directions. Yet many questions remain open regarding how to make it operational around the world. We will consider what effect the CRPD has had on law reform and development (including developmental aid and humanitarian assistance), as well as what barriers and systemic concerns remain to be addressed. Throughout, we will look at a few specific disabilities (such as Deafness) as a way of identifying themes that cross boundaries, cultures, and approaches to realizing disability rights.