Journal article calls for a new Asian tribunal to enforce disability treaty

The word law in stone.
U.N. Treaty

Famed New York Law Professor Michael Perlin recently published a new journal article outlining the contours of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as arguing for why the creation of a new legal tribunal in Asia is necessary for it to be enforced in that region of the world.

“The empirical evidence is clear: in all regions of the word, persons with mental disabilities – especially those institutionalized because of such disabilities – are uniformly deprived of their civil and human rights,” Perlin wrote. “The creation of a Disability Rights Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific (DRTAP) would be the first necessary step leading to amelioration of this deprivation.

“It would be a bold, innovative, progressive, and an important step on the path towards realization of those rights.”

Perlin argues that the treaty, which just went into effect in 2008, is already making significant impacts. Specifically, he points to new case law arising in a variety of other tribunals, including the European Court on Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the African Commission on Human Rights.

Although President Obama signed the treaty in his first year in office, the Senate narrowly rejected the treaty, which requires a two-thirds vote for ratification, in 2012.

“To persons with disabilities, the CRPD is the most important international human rights document ever drafted, signed and ratified,” Perlin wrote. “It has the capacity to radically change the way that states treat persons with disabilities.

“But in Asia and the Pacific, it is likely to have no ‘real life’ impact unless persons with disabilities have a forum to which they can litigate their claims. The proposed DRTAP is such a forum. It is, in my view, the best – perhaps, the only – means of giving true life to the CRPD in this part of the world.’

The journal article can be read here.