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History of DRPI

In November 2000, the United Nations Special Reporter on Disability, Dr. Bengt Lindqvist, hosted an international seminar in Stockholm, Sweden. Twenty-seven experts from all regions of the world considered measures to strengthen the protection and monitoring of the human rights of people with disabilities. Among the seminar participants were representatives of all the major international disability organizations, representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretariat, disability rights activists, and experts on human rights. The participants recommended the creation of an international system to monitor the human rights situation of people with disabilities. To fill this need DRPI was founded by Dr. Bengt Lindqvist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, and Dr. Marcia Rioux, Graduate Director of the MA and PhD programs in Critical Disability Studies at York University. The report of the expert seminar entitled Let the World Know: Report of a Seminar on Human Rights and Disability is available on the UN Enable web site.

Phase 1: Background Research

DRPI was launched in 2002 with a research phase that investigated:

  • opportunities for using international human rights instruments to enforce disability rights;
  • types of monitoring tools used by human rights monitoring projects;
  • current training resources for human rights monitors and more general, for human rights education.

The research:

  1. confirmed the need for increased disability rights monitoring activities and for disability-specific monitoring and training resources;
  2. identified existing expertise, models, and methodologies related to human rights monitoring in the five areas of focus;
  3. highlighted opportunities for disability rights advocacy in the international human rights system.

In addition to research, DRPI reached out to many organizations to identify partnership opportunities. This exploration of partnerships continues as plans are developed to implement a monitoring system. DRPI aims to form effective working relationships with human rights and disability organizations to share expertise and develop field testing sites for monitoring.

The report can be accessed in two ways:

The report:

  • describes the United Nations international human rights treaties and opportunities for the promotion and protection of the human rights of people with disabilities;
  • reviews various methods for collecting human rights data and ensuring thorough monitoring activities;
  • lists human rights training resources for various audiences and describes them in relation to their usefulness in the disability context.

Phase 2: Implementation

Phase 2, completed in March 2009, involved the development and field testing of a broad range of tools, methodologies and training resources to be used by persons with disabilities and their organizations around the world to monitor disability rights.

Phase 3: Development of Regional Centers and Tools Usage in Practice

Phase 3, now in progress, involves using the instruments and tools developed and field-tested during Phase 2 to expand capacity-building, training and monitoring activities to at least 20 more countries, fostering permanence and sustainability of monitoring. In collaboration with partner organizations of persons with disabilities, regional centers are being established in five regions across the globe to act as focal points for disability rights monitoring activities occurring in Phase 3 and following the completion of the DRPI project. The sustainability of monitoring activities is being fostered by increasing and strengthening the international network of persons with disabilities and disability organizations with the skills to manage, coordinate and participate in disability rights monitoring projects. Collaborations begun during Phase 2 are continuing and new partnerships are being explored. Capacity is being developed among disability organizations at the grassroots and persons with disabilities are being engaged at the national, regional and international level. By the end of Phase 3, a strong foundation will be in place for a comprehensive and sustainable global disability rights monitoring system, involving the networks and organizations of persons with disabilities needed to support the work.

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