The Rights of Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Groups (LAW-989-001)

In-person (WCL)

2:30 - 4:20 pm

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  • Dominique Day, Executive Director, Daylight-Rule of Law, Access to Justice, Advocacy, INC, and Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, United Nations
  • Eric Rosenthal, Founder and Executive Director, Disability Rights International, Washington, D.C.

Course Description:

In the first module, you will learn about the United Nations initiatives to establish a baseline to measure progress in the realization of the human rights of African descent individuals in accordance with international human rights obligations. You will be able to recognize the right to reparation as an internationally recognized human right and promote racial equality and the substance of justice. You will learn about the transformative change of a disruptive system that has defined our modern global economy and transnational relations. In this international framework, you will also learn about the social construction of race as a historical reality, and will deepen your knowledge about anti-black racism, how systematic racism operates on a daily basis in education, health, access to justice, and housing. 

The second module will examine the rights of another vulnerable group: children and adults with disabilities. The class will focus especially on the concerns of 8-10 million children detained in orphanages worldwide as well as an even larger number of adults with disabilities in psychiatric facilities, social care homes and other closed facilities. The course will examine the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) and the way disability rights and human rights activists have used this new international human rights convention to address abuses against institutionalized children and adults. Topics to be included will be: (1) drafting of the CRPD and the new anti-discrimination framework; (2) segregation of people with disabilities worldwide and the right to full participation in society (3) protections against torture in healthcare settings (4) the right to legal capacity for people with mental disabilities (5) obligations of international donors and the need establish inclusive international development programs, and (6) trafficking, gender-based violence, and the reproductive rights of women with disabilities. In addition to examining new legal protections under the CRPD, the class will examine the use of international oversight bodies, media, public education, policy-advocacy and community organizing to promote rights enforcement.