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About the Disability Rights Unit

Over the course of the past two decades, the subject of disability as a human rights issue has become a topic of increasing concern to civil society (including Disabled Peoples’ Organisations – DPOs), governments and private actors across the globe. This concern comes in the wake of the coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 3 May, 2008.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) have also joined the discussion, and established the Working Group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities with the mandate to inter alia draft a Concept Paper for consideration by the African Commission that will serve as a basis for the adoption of the Draft Protocol on Ageing and People with Disabilities.

Mission and Vision

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) is committed to finding evidence-based ways of addressing the rights of persons with disabilities on the African continent. This includes conducting research on international disability rights standards and instruments, building capacity among governments, national human rights institutions, academia, civil society and communities, and engaging with judicial, quasi-judicial and non-judicial redress mechanisms.

 

The CHR has a proud history of collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Disability Rights programme is no exception. In light of this continuing relationship, the CHR assists the Working Group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in fulfilling its mandate by lending research capacity and logistical support to the Working Group.

The Disability Rights Unit aims to contribute to the international disability rights discourse by assisting and collaborating with international organisations, academic partners, and civil society across the globe in taking targeted measures to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Disability Rights Unit will coordinate the Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa which brings together law schools from nine universities across Africa.

Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa: Project Goals

The overall goal of the project is to advance disability rights through higher education. Our objectives are:

  1. To promote knowledge production on and deepen understanding of disability rights through action oriented and locally relevant research, and through strengthening a network of law faculties on the continent engaged in disability rights curriculum development and clinical legal education;
  2. To promote the education of future disability rights advocates in a manner that equips them with practical skills and inspires them to work on disability rights issues;
  3. To promote policy changes and advocate for the ratification and implementation of legal instruments protecting the rights of persons with disabilities through supporting disability rights advocacy efforts and promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities within the partner universities;
  4. To establish a close link between the partner universities, their communities and the disability movement through community outreach activities, joint workshops and other partnerships.

Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa: Areas of focus

The Disability Rights and Law Scools Project in Africa supports but is not limited to the following activities of the Disability Rights Unit:

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