Spring 2020 Course Schedule

Global Perspectives on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (LAW-886-001)
Eric Rosenthal

Meets: 10:00 AM - 11:50 AM (Tu) - Yuma - Room Y250

Enrolled: 13 / Limit: 22

Administrator Access


There are no notices at this time.


This course examines the contribution of international human rights law and process to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the evolving jurisprudence its adoption has inspired at all levels (international, regional and national). The course explores rights-based approaches to international disability rights issues, including, for example, non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation, the campaign to ban institutionalization, violence against women and girls with disabilities, legal capacity, inclusive education, the health rights of people with disabilities, including equal access to HIV/AIDS interventions, and disability inclusive development. It also aims to provide students with an understanding of the advocacy strategies and analytical tools utilized by disability rights advocates to address contemporary human rights issues that are most relevant to persons with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on developing a critical understanding and practical use of the core international disability rights documents and the role of State and non-State actors engaged in disability rights interventions. A range of teaching methodologies is utilized in the course, including large and small group discussion, facilitated class discussion led by students, case studies, reading and critique of literature, guest lectures by practitioners, film clip viewing, in-class participatory exercises and student research presentations.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

Most materials are available online. There are no required texts for this course, although students are strongly encouraged to obtain the following textbooks: Arlene Kanter, The Development and Adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities: The Development of Disability Rights Under International Law (2015) and Janet E. Lord et al, Human Rights YES! Action and advocacy on the rights of persons with disabilities (2d edition, 2012), available at: www.humanrightsyes.org.

As background for the class, students are encouraged to read Joseph P. Shapiro, No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement (1993).

First Class Readings

Required readings:

United Nations “Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental health Care,” G.A. Res.119, U.N. GAOR, 46th Sess., Supp.No.49, Annex, at 188-92, U.N Doc. A/46/49 (1991). Available online at http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/46/a46r119.htm.

Eric Rosenthal & Leonard Rubenstein, 16 “International Human Rights Advocacy under the ‘Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness,”16 International Journal of Law & Psychiatry 257 (1993).

Laurie Ahern, No Place for Children, The Washington Post, August 11, 2013. Available online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/orphanages-are-no-place-for-children/2013/08/09/6d502fb0-fadd-11e2-a369-d1954abcb7e3_story.html.

Michael Winerip, “The Global Willowbrook,” The New York Times Magazine pp.58-67, January 16, 2000. Available online at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/16/magazine/the-global-willowbrook.html.


Human Rights Council, “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” 35th session June 6-23, 2017 (March 28, 2017) U.N. Doc. A/HRC/35/21.

World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons, G.A. Res. 37/52, at 185, U.N. GAOR, 37th Sess., Supp. No. 51, U.N. Doc. A/RES/37/52 (Dec. 3, 1982), available online at: www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=23

Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities, G.A. Res. 48/96, at 202, U.N. GAOR, 48th Sess, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/RES/48/96 (Dec. 20, 1993), available online at: www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dissre00.htm


Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):