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.

Course structure

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 completion. 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 instructor: Oliver Lewis

Oliver LewisOliver 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.

About the instructor: Kathryn Vandever

Kathryn VandeverKathryn Vandever is Director of Programs at HREA. She directs the Children’s Rights and Child Protection and Human Rights Defenders programs and is responsible for program development and grants management across the organization. Prior to joining HREA in 2012, Kathryn worked for the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) in Budapest, Hungary where she managed the development of guidelines on Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Prior to that, Kathryn worked for the Open Society Foundations in Budapest and in New York where she managed grant giving and operational programs that sought to advance the social inclusion and human rights of persons with mental disabilities in Central and Eastern Europe. Kathryn holds an M.A. in Human Rights from the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and a B.A. 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; tuition for auditors: US$ 215. Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer (additional fee applies) and money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available. Payments are due upon registration.

How to register

Registration is closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about HREA’s e-learning courses.