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Translating the Convention into a domestic context

In this video, various people who work in disability describe the importance and challenges of activating human rights frameworks at the local level.

In this step we explore the importance of the international human rights framework in local contexts, and the challenges that remain in creating change at the national, local and personal levels.

Therese Sands, a systemic advocate for People with Disability Australia (PWDA), explains that the human rights framework must underpin advocacy work. Within an Australian context, she sees human rights as providing her with a range of tools and processes to pursue advocacy, including:

Gerard Quinn also discusses ways in which a human rights approach has been useful, citing the example of how the UNCRPD was used to justify the direction of funding for disability supports within the European Union. But Gerard also reminds us that human rights in and of themselves are not enough. His 2009 essay Resisting the “Temptation of Elegance” further expands on this point.
Antoni, Dinesha and Karen all talk about some of the limitations of the UNCRPD in their own local context. As an illustration of Gerard’s concern about the necessity of domestic or local enforcement of human rights, Antoni and Dinesha explain that human rights requires a “paradigm shift” in government, along with significant political will. Karen goes further to explain how definitions of disability are unclear in the UNCRPD. As such, governments often change their definitions of disability and with these changes the protection of rights is removed. Karen explains this particularly in terms of economic rights, where changes in government policy around who qualifies as disabled can result in the denial of access to certain protections and services and prevent people from realising their human rights in everyday life.

Talking points

  • What is the usefulness of human rights frameworks at the national, local and personal levels?
  • What are some of the challenges of applying human rights frameworks in a domestic context?
  • Are there recent examples of human rights frameworks successfully being applied in your own local context? (You may need to do some research for this one.)

This ends the Basics for Week 2. In the next step, we Expand our interests by unpacking the development and implementation of disability discrimination acts.

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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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