Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Professor Gerard Quinn Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway.

A historic hearing took place yesterday (Thursday, July 11th) in the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  The issue before the Committee was US ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  In the US system the Senate must gives its ‘advice and consent’ before the Federal Government can ratify a treaty.  A two thirds majority vote is needed from the full Senate before the Administration can proceed to ratification.  This is an exceedingly high bar but, especially after yesterday, it looks likely to be met.  It is now almost a foregone conclusion that the Committee – chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) – will commend a positive vote to the full Senate.

This really matters not just for the US but also for the rest of the world.  And it would certainly up the ante for Irish ratification.  The traditional bi-partisan approach of the US Congress was splendidly exemplified in opening remarks made to the Committee by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).  The symbolism of their joint appearance spoke volumes about the natural reflex of both parties in favour of the civil rights of persons with disabilities.  Indeed, both of them relayed the support of former President H W Bush as well as former Senator Bob Dole.  This immediately took the issue out of the cauldron of partisan politics and placed it where it should be – as matter of high principle. Continue reading “Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty”

Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty

Centre for Disability Law & Policy NUI Galway & Harvard Law School Project on Disability to Hold Summer School in June

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 Continue reading “Centre for Disability Law & Policy NUI Galway & Harvard Law School Project on Disability to Hold Summer School in June”

Centre for Disability Law & Policy NUI Galway & Harvard Law School Project on Disability to Hold Summer School in June