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The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CPRD) by the United Nations in 2006 marked a major watershed. The CRPD is the first comprehensive and binding treaty on the rights of people with disabilities. It establishes the right of people with disabilities to equality, dignity, autonomy, full participation as well as specific rights including the right to live in the community, supported decision-making and inclusive education. Prior to the CRPD, international law had provided only limited protections to people with disabilities, although some countries had begun to incorporate rights protections into their respective domestic legislation.
This book analyses the development of disability rights as an international human rights movement, in selected countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as well as the United States. The book begins with an examination of the status of people with disabilities under international law prior to the adoption of the CPRD and follows the development of human rights protections through the drafting process of the CRPD. People with disabilities, like women and children before them, waged a battle to enforce their rights on the international stage against a backdrop of changing international norms. The book highlights four areas the right to legal capacity (article 12), the right to liberty and freedom from torture (articles 14 and 15), the right to live in the community (article 19), and the right to inclusive education, in order to the transformation from the charity/deficit/medical model of disability to the human rights mode. These areas are analyzed from a comparative perspective including a discussion of the laws, policies, and practices in selected countries in order to show the success of the CRPD in achieving protections depends on the extent to which individual countries begin to enforce domestic laws and policies and the extent to which various societies change their attitudes about people with disabilities.