The Centre for Disability Law & Policy and the Harvard Law School Project on Disability will hold a six-day Summer School from 6 – 11 June in Galway. Information on how to register for the Summer School is available here. The Summer School aims to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the generalities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. The participants will include persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups of persons with disabilities as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts and others. The Faculty includes senior academics, practitioners and policy makers from around the world who have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the Convention and includes Human Rights in Ireland’s Dr Eilionoir Flynn. The Faculty also includes Professor Michael Stein (Harvard Law School Project on Disability), Professor Gerard Quinn (NUI Galway, Ireland), Michael Bach (Inclusion International), Eric Rosenthal (Disability Rights International), Andrea Coomber (Interights, London), Gauthier de Beco (Associate Researcher at University of Louvain), Christian Courtis, (Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights), Sir Michael Wood (Essex Street Chambers, London, Member of the International Law Commission).
The cost of attending the Summer School is €300, however, a course fee waiver concession will be available for a limited number of applicants from NGO’s (this may be a part or full course fee waiver and is at the discretion of the Summer School) for more information see here. The Programme will introduce participants to the nature of the convention, to treaty interpretation in general, to the general concept of equality in the convention (and some of the relevant innovations in the CRPD). It will draw out the differences between obligations of immediate effect (non-discrimination) and obligations of conduct (to ‘progressively achieve’) social and economic rights and how to identify which provisions in the convention create which kinds of obligations. It will focus on certain core rights such as the right to legal capacity, the right to independent living, and the right to inclusive education. It will also focus on important provisions in the convention protecting people with disabilities against violence, exploitation and abuse. It will look at the practical institutional changes needed to give effect to the convention at national level (the obligation to create a ‘focal point’, etc). And it will explore the implications of the CRPD for development aid programmes throughout the world. A key feature of the Summer School will be its emphasis on imparting practical skills in using the convention – no matter your region or country. There will be sessions on how to interact with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the relevant treaty monitoring body), how to draft Shadow Reports, how to craft effective Complaints under the Optional Protocol and how to influence the drafting of Questions by the UN Committee to the States Parties.
In keeping with the practical orientation of the Summer School there will be a Participatory Exercise based on a problem disseminated at the beginning of the Summer School and culminating in a hearing at the end. All participants are expected to be involved at some level. Prior legal knowledge or experience is not required. The aim is to provide the participants with a forum to sharpen their argumentative strategies based on the CRPD and to identify weaknesses as well as strengths in the different argumentative approaches. They will be mentored throughout the week in crafting their arguments by the international Faculty.