Global perspectives on disability, human rights and accessing justice 2013-2014
Over 1 billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, live with a disability. Persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic, and attitudinal hurdles that prevent them from participating as equal members of society and often keep them from accessing education, employment, social and legal support systems.
The disability movement has advanced considerably, particularly with the international community’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP) as the first international human rights treaty on disability.
Despite its passage, however, important issues, ignorance, as well as major legal and policy challenges, remain. They stand as barriers to advancing full equality and the fundamental human rights of people with disabilities around the world.
The seminar series
To explore some of the advances, challenges, and questions, the CHRLP is pleased to present its 2013-14 seminar series on selected issues of human rights and disability law. The series builds on the themes explored in the CHRLP’s successful 2012-13 seminar series, entitled “Disability, Human Rights and the Law.” We offer this series to continue to engage in one of the most compelling human rights issues of our day, consistent with the Faculty of Law’s tradition of analysis, scholarship and promotion of human rights and social justice.
The events will follow the format of a teaching seminar and required resources will be circulated ahead of time.
Space is limited, so kindly RSVP to chrlp [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca to secure your spot. Lunch will be provided.
October 2, 2013 – 12:30 - 2:00 – Chancellor Day Hall, Stephen Scott Seminar Room (room 16)
RSVP to chrlp [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca by September 27
The inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities is critical to advancing the development agenda. In light of the United Nations’ efforts to create a disability-inclusive post-2015 development agenda at the upcoming High Level Meeting on Disability and Development, this seminar will provide a forum for discussion of international strategies for achieving equality for persons with disabilities by implementing a disability perspective in development processes. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally-agreed development goals. The seminar will allow participants to reflect on programs and interventions that may begin to remove the barriers and increase accessibility in developmental efforts. This seminar is accredited for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education by the Quebec Bar (activity no. 10075381).
Update: download a summary of the seminar [.pdf]
1) The Way Forward: a Disability Inclusive Development Agenda Towards 2015 and Beyond (United Nations High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development)
2) “Disability and the Millennium Development Goals: A Review of the MDG Process and Strategies for Inclusion of Disability Issues in Millennium Development Goal Efforts”
3) “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Implications for the Equality Rights of Canadians with Disabilities,” by Ravi Malhotra and Robin F. Hansen
4) This Ability: An International Legal Analysis of Disability Discrimination, by Anne-Marie Mooney Cotter (see Chapter 5)
November 6, 2013 – 12:30 - 2:00 –Chancellor Day Hall, Stephen Scott Seminar Room (room 16)
RSVP to chrlp [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca by November 1
This seminar will explore Canadian and U.S. perspectives on the intersection of disability, mental health and access to justice. Recent decades have witnessed an evolution in the understanding between life circumstances, mental health and involvement with the law, and yet people with mental illnesses face significant obstacles in protecting their basic civil rights. They also remain highly over-represented in the criminal justice system. The CRPD has contributed to the debate around mental illness and access to justice. In particular, the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities “on an equal basis with others” has important implications in relation to both criminal responsibility and civil rights. This seminar will allow for a discussion of the legal and non-legal issues and challenges that exist at the nexus of mental disability, human rights, and access to justice. This seminar is accredited for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education by the Quebec Bar (activity no. 10075399).
Moderator: Derek J. Jones (CHRLP & Research Group on Health and Law)
Resource Persons: Robert Dinerstein (Professor, American University Washington College of Law), Emily Hazlett (Law Student Intern, Disability Rights International)
Update: download a summary of the seminar [.pdf]
Suggested Reading and Video Resources
1) Milan Sýkora v. Czech Republic, European Court of Human Rights (see especially paras 100-13)
2) Dinerstein, Robert, "Implementing Legal Capacity Under Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: The Difficult Road From Guardianship to Supported Decision-Making"
3) United Kingdom House of Lords, Select Committee on the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, Autumn 2013 Hearings (see especially minutes 12h00-12h20)
4) Australia, Victoria Office of Public Advocate, "Supported Decision-Making: Background and Discussion Paper" (see especially section 6.1)
1) Nidus (British Columbia) Personal Planning Resource Centre Representation Agreements
2) Ontario Law Commission, Legal Capacity, Decision-Making and Guardianship Project
3) UK, Social Care in Excellence Teaching Videos on Mental Capacity and the Mental Capacity Act of 2005 (see especially "Social Care TV: Raymond's Money")
4) In the matter of Dameris L, Surrogate Court of New York, December 2012
5) Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, "Legal Capacity in Europe: A Call to Action to Governments and to the EU"
January 27, 2014 – 12:30 - 2:00 – Chancellor Day Hall, Stephen Scott Seminar Room (room 16)
RSVP to chrlp [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca by January 24
The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 was a watershed in its guarantee of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in education, employment, health, and access to justice for persons with disabilities. The legislation inspired others to draft their own disability rights laws and served as an example for the drafting of the CRPD. Ontario, for example, enacted the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005. The federal employment equity legislation also includes persons with disabilities as one of the four target groups. This event will provide an opportunity for students, professors, and educators to discuss proactive approaches to implementing ongoing legal and policy developments in the areas of disability and human rights. This seminar is accredited for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education by the Quebec Bar (activity no.10075992).
March 19, 2014 – 12:30 - 2:00 – Chancellor Day Hall, Stephen Scott Seminar Room (room 16)
RSVP to chrlp [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca by March 14
Over the past year, there have been remarkable developments in law and policy regarding end-of-life decision-making and the dying with dignity debate. In March 2012, the Quebec National Assembly recommended that the law be reformed to allow for assisted suicide in some cases. In June 2012, the British Columbia Supreme Court held that the Criminal Code provisions on assisted suicide violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.The seminar will allow participants to exchange ideas regarding the difficult issues inherent in the assisted suicide discussion, with human dignity and disability discrimination as major themes. This seminar is accredited for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education by the Quebec Bar (activity no. 10075984).
For more information
The Seminar Series is hosted by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) and the McGill Law Students Human Rights Working Group (Disability and the Law Portfolio), and supported by the Aisenstadt Community Justice Initiatives and a generous grant from the Rathlyn Fund for Disability Rights.
The accessible entrances to Chancellor Day Hall are as follows:
- Law Library entrance at 3660 Peel Street
- Outside door to the Law cafeteria in the basement (south of Chancellor Day Hall, in front of Dr Penfield)
- Level 7 of the McIntyre indoor parking complex
There are ramps for wheelchair access and the elevators are located at either end of New Chancellor Day Hall.
If you have further questions, contact Nicholas Caivano, Rathlyn Fellow at the CHRLP, at nicholas [dot] caivano [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca.