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Course E092: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities

11 September-22 October 2013 (E09213) | Closed
Instructors: Oliver Lewis and Kathryn Vandever

In this e-learning course participants will be introduced to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, and was negotiated by governments in record time. The course provides readings on the CRPD and its implementation, and the course is designed to encourage participants to apply the theory in their advocacy activities.

The course will examine the principles of the Convention and the state obligations to implement it. Substantive rights will be addressed and these include the right to legal capacity, the right to live in the community and the right to political participation. Participants will be encouraged to assess how the CRPD embodies an approach which views disability as a social construct, and ensures that the rights of people with disabilities are respected, protected and fulfilled on an equal basis with others.

The course will provide participants -- staff of domestic human rights NGOs, staff and members of disabled people's organisations and staff of national human rights institutions, among others -- with information about how they can engage in domestic monitoring of implementation. The course will outline also the international mechanisms to make sure that states ensure that the rights contained in the CRPD have a positive effect for people with disabilities.

This certificate course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, discussion, webinars and quizzes, and is offered over six-week period. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. Participants will do the required readings and participate in group discussions and webinars. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1. History and introduction to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Week 2. Principles and state obligations
Week 3. Right to legal capacity
Week 4. Right to live in the community
Week 5. Right to political participation
Week 6. Monitoring implementation

About the instructors

Oliver Lewis is the Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) in Budapest (Hungary). He is a member of the Bar of England and Wales and is an Associate Member of the human rights barristers' set Doughty Street Chambers, London. Mr. Lewis has been a Visiting Professor at the Legal Studies Department, Central European University in Budapest since 2002, where he teaches a course entitled "Mental Disability Law and Advocacy" to postgraduate human rights students. He is also a Fellow at CEU's Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine. Oliver has given lectures and presentations at several universities around the world, and is a faculty member of the International Diploma on Mental Health Law and Human Rights, run by the Indian Law Society in Pune (India), in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Oliver has previously worked at the UK's Department of Health as a research assistant on mental health law reform. He holds an LLB(Hons) in Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), an MA in Medical Ethics and Law from King's College, London, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Open University Business School.

Kathryn Vandever is Head of Research, Evaluation and Policy at HREA. Before joining HREA, she was a consultant for the Disability Rights Fund and worked for the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) and the Open Society Mental Health Initiative in Budapest and the Open Society Foundations Public Health Program in New York. Kathryn holds an MA degree in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex and a BA in Economics from Oberlin College.

Who should apply

The course is intended for staff members of domestic human rights NGOs, staff and members of disabled people’s organisations and staff of national human rights institutions and/or Ombudsman offices. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575. Early registration discounts: 25% when paying 8 weeks before the start of the course; 15% when paying 4 weeks before course start.

Tuition for auditors: US$ 215. Early registration discounts: 25% when paying 8 weeks before the start of the course; 15% when paying 4 weeks before course start.

Payments can be made online by major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal and bank transfer. Bulk rates are available.


It is no longer possible to register for this course. This course will be offered next in 2015.

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