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Marcia Rioux Professor & Graduate Program Director, M.A., PhD (Critical Disability Studies) York University, Toront PowerPoint Presentation
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Marcia Rioux

Professor & Graduate Program Director, M.A., PhD (Critical Disability Studies)

York University, Toronto Canada

D.R.P.I. Session Rehabilitation International World CongressAugust, 2008Disability Rights Promotion International: A Holistic Approach to Monitoring the Human Rights of People with Disabilities in the Global World

raising awareness that disability is a human rights issue is an important first step

“ In all societies of the world there are obstacles preventing persons with disabilities from exercising their rights and freedoms, and making it difficult for them to participate fully in the activities of their societies.”

BengtLindqvist (U.N. Special Rapporteur on Disability (1994-2002)

EU Conference on Disability, November 2006

holistic monitoring builds in a way to measure the gap
Government policies, programs and constitutional guarantees and…

The realities for people with disabilities who continue to live without their human rights.

Holistic Monitoring Builds in a way to measure the Gap
u n special rapporteur recommends twin track approach
U.N. Special Rapporteur Recommends Twin-Track Approach

“ Mainstreaming and a convention should be seen as complementary approaches and a ‘twin-track’ approach should be applied in the field of human rights and disabled persons.”

Bengt Lindqvist

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Disability (1994-2002)

alm sa seminar november 2000 international seminar
“Almåsa Seminar”November 2000: International Seminar

“Let the World Know”

recommends establishing an international disability rights monitoring system

disability rights promotion international
DRPI is a collaborative project working to establish a comprehensive, sustainable international system to monitor human rights of people with disabilities.Disability Rights Promotion International
human rights principles
Human Rights Principles
  • Dignity
  • Autonomy
  • Non-discrimination & Equality
  • Participation, Inclusion & Accessibility
  • Respect for difference
what is monitoring
What is monitoring?
  • The collection, verification and use of information to address human rights problems;
  • Involves researching, gathering, analysing, and reporting information;
  • With the purpose of identifying human rights abuses and violations and support efforts to remedy them;
  • Monitoring is intended to bring about social change: recommendations for law and policy development
monitoring is an empowering activity
Monitoring is an Empowering Activity
  • Provides a voice to marginalized people;
  • Enhances public awareness by documenting abuses and violations;
  • Reinforces a collective identity among persons with disabilities;
  • Supports efforts to achieve social justice
monitoring is
Monitoring is ……

measuring progress toward justice for people with disabilities.

drpi monitors disability discrimination worldwide
DRPI Monitors Disability Discrimination Worldwide
  • Africa
  • South America
  • Asia
  • North America
  • North America
  • Asia

South America


drpi guiding principles
DRPI Guiding Principles
  • Leading role of People with Disabilities & their Organizations
  • Sustainability and Capacity Building
  • Cross-Disability Involvement
  • Holistic Monitoring: Integrating 3 monitoring information from 3 areas
  • Engagement with Multi-Sectoral Organizations
holistic approach to disability rights monitoring
Holistic Approach to Disability Rights Monitoring

Holistic approach examines 3 monitoring areas providing a broad picture of human rights situation of people with disabilities.

1 monitoring systems
1. Monitoring Systems
  • Fact finding about government laws, policies, programs and legal cases
          • Legal Education & Research
          • National Human Rights Cases
          • Strategic Disability Rights Litigation
  • On-going systemic monitoring in Australia, Bolivia, Canada, India, Kenya, U.S.A.
monitoring systems
Monitoring Systems
  • Places individual stories in context;
  • Involves the investigation of the laws, policies and programs affecting people with disabilities in a particular jurisdiction;
  • Serves to determine whether legislative frameworks in place fail to respect and protect the human rights of disabled people, or even violate them by containing discriminatory dispositions
drpi law and policy monitoring template
DRPI Law and Policy Monitoring Template
  • Principles and Concepts
  • Right to Access to Justice
  • Rights to Information and Communication
  • Rights to Privacy and Family Life
  • Rights to Independent Living and Participation
  • Right to Education
  • Rights to Income Security and Support Services
  • Rights to Health, Habilitation and Rehabilitation
  • Right to Work

Monitoring Systems

partners in monitoring systems
Partners in Monitoring Systems

Human Rights Organizations:

  • Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva)
  • International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) (Geneva)
  • Interights (England)
  • Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights &

Humanitarian Law (Sweden)

National Human Rights Institutions:

  • Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
partners in monitoring systems canada
Partners in Monitoring Systems: Canada

Government Departments & Agencies:

  • ARCH – Legal Resource Centre for People withDisabilities (Canada)
  • Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitationand Social Integration (Canada)
  • Office des personnes handicapées du Québec –Government of Quebec (Canada)
  • Office for Disability Issues – Government of Canada
  • Statistics Canada
2 monitoring individual experiences
2. Monitoring Individual Experiences

Fact-finding about peoples’ actual situations in their communities.


Disability and Human Rights Seminar, Nairobi, Kenya

Involving representatives from 78Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Switzerland

monitoring individual experiences
Monitoring Individual Experiences:
  • To document individual experiences of exercise and denial of human rights;
  • The aggregate outcome of individual monitoring can reveal broader patterns of discrimination;
  • Individual interviews;
  • Monitors are persons with disabilities.
monitoring individual experiences27
Monitoring Individual Experiences
  • The Interview Guide covers:
        • Socio-demographic variables (e.g. age, sex, type of disability, type of household, proximity of infrastructures in the community,..)
        • Experiences of access to, or denial of, human rights basic principles, and how interviewees dealt with them
  • Qualitative analysis of data on the basis of the DRPI coding scheme and supported by DRPI technical manuals
monitoring individual experiences28
Monitoring Individual Experiences

Excerpt from the D.R.P.I. Interview Guide

[ Dignity ]

HOW did this situation make you feel and WHY? (For example, did you feel respected/not respected, ignored/cared for, worthy/unworthy?)

WHAT made you feel that way?

WHY do you think people treated you that way?

monitoring individual experiences29
Monitoring Individual Experiences
  • Reporting: an excerpt from State of Disabled Peoples Rights in Kenya, 2007:

“[the research] clearly indicates that experiences of oppression, discrimination and violation of basic human rights pervade the lives of many disabled people in Kenya. As it emerged from the stories gathered, most people with disabilities, regardless of their age, gender, where they live or their disability type, are prevented from making decisions on issues that affect their lives. (…) They face prejudice and negative stereotypes, and are excluded in a multitude of ways from their communities and mainstream society. Viewed as a burden and a curse to their families, they are regarded as second class citizens. Their dignity, as members of the human family, is seriously affected.”

technical skills
Technical Skills

Learning How to Monitor:

  • Obtaining consent
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Getting all the facts
  • Snowball sampling
  • Taking notes & recording
  • Maintaining confidentiality

Monitoring Individual Experiences

essential principles
Essential Principles
  • All reporting documents and practices must be user-friendly.
  • Involvement of people with disabilities is necessary and essential.

Monitoring Individual Experiences

monitoring in teams of people with disabilities
Monitoring in Teams of People with Disabilities
  • Builds solidarity
  • Builds capacity
  • Fosters sustainability

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi kenya individual disability rights monitor training february 2006
DRPI – KENYAIndividual Disability Rights Monitor Training February, 2006

Monitoring Sites:

  • Nairobi (urban)
  • Rift Valley (urban & rural)
  • Nyanza (urban & rural)

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi kenya


  • African Union of the Blind (AFUB)
  • Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB)
  • Kenya Centre for Disability Rights Education & Advocacy (CREAD)
  • University of Nairobi, Faculty of Law
  • Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired (SRF)

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi cameroon individual disability rights monitor training october 2006
DRPI – CAMEROONIndividual Disability Rights Monitor Training October, 2006

Monitoring Sites:

  • Yaoundé (urban)
  • Menoua Division (rural)
  • Bamenda (urban)

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi cameroon


  • African Union of the Blind
  • Cameroon National Association of the Blind
  • Cameroon National Association of Disabled Cameroon
  • National Association of the Deaf
  • Cameroon National Association of Lepers
  • Cameroon National Association of the Physically Disabled
  • Cameroon National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms

Monitoring Individual Experiences



Countryside near Nairobi

Workshop on Understanding Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities


September, 2006

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi india individual disability rights monitor training may 2007
DRPI - INDIAIndividual Disability Rights Monitor Training May, 2007

Monitoring Sites:

  • Hyderabad (urban)
  • Kurnool (town)
  • Villages in Visakhapatnam District (rural)
    • Thokuru Village (Ananthagiri Mandal)
    • Konapuram (Ananthagiri Mandal)
    • Kondiva (Ananthagiri Mandal)
    • Malchingaram (Araku Mandal)

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi india


  • Swadhikaar Center for Disabilities Information, Research & Resource Development
  • Asmita Resource Centre for Women
  • NALSAR School of Law
  • National Institute for Mental Handicap
  • Leonard Cheshire International South-Asia Region
  • AP State Legal Services Authority

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi bolivia individual disability rights monitor training july 2008
DRPI BoliviaIndividual Disability Rights Monitor Training July, 2008

Monitoring Sites:

  • Santa Cruz (urban)
  • Provincia Obispo Santistevan (rural)
  • La Paz (urban)
  • Provincia El Alto (rural)

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi bolivia
DRPI Bolivia


  • Confederación Boliviana de Personas con Discapacidad
  • Federación Cruceña de Personas con Discapacidad (FECRUPDI) - Carlos Loli Cortez Vasquez
  • Federación Departamental de Personas con Discapacidad (FEDEPDI) -Teclo Gonzales Puquimia

Monitoring Individual Experiences

drpi canada


  • national & local organizations of people with disabilities
  • individual disability rights experts (academics, independent researchers, lawyers)
  • human rights NGOs
  • universities
  • government offices for disability issues
  • disability & human rights research institutes

Newfoundland, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Toronto, Canada

drpi canada organizational partners
Amnesty International

ARCH - A legal resource centre for persons with disabilities

Canadian Abilities Foundation

Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Centre interdiscipinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

DisAbled Women's Network Ontario


Institute for Social Research, York University

Office des personne handicapées du Québec

Office for Disability Issues, Government of Canada

Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights & Humanitarian Law

Université de Laval

University of Victoria

York University

DRPI – CANADAOrganizational Partners:
3 monitoring societal attitudes
3. Monitoring Societal Attitudes

Fact finding about societal attitudes to disability and people with disabilities by monitoring media coverage and depiction.

  • reflects & influences public opinion is a proxy for societal attitudes

Media can:

  • perpetuate negative myths & stereotypes

But media can also:

  • be a catalyst for positive social change

Monitoring Societal Attitudes

media monitoring
Media Monitoring
  • Monitoring media coverage and depiction of disability
  • Quantitative analysis: e.g. number and format of publications per day, their placement (what section, where in section), types of disability covered and sources used;
  • Qualitative analysis: content analysis and critical discourse analysis (e.g. language and presence of stereotypes, way sources are used, visual images used, how and why)

Monitoring Societal Attitudes


Media Monitoring

  • gather 1000s of disability-related media reports from the internet including:
      • radio and television broadcasts
      • newspaper, magazine and internet articles
  • use neural networks, content analysis and critical discourse analysis to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of the stories.
  • analyses conducted by collaborative research team from disability community, media and academia

Monitoring Societal Attitudes



& Panel of experts (PE)


(association of terms)

Search string

Neural networks

PE feedback

refine search string

New search string

Media sample

Content analysis

PE and disability community feedback

General picture

Detect patterns

Discourse analysis

Media Monitoring Methodology Loop

  • Researchers from University of Buffalo, U.S.A. and Umeå University, Sweden and York University, Canada
  • International Panel of Experts (Canada, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Sweden and U.S.A.)

Monitoring Societal Attitudes

holistic approach to disability rights monitoring70
Holistic Approach to Disability Rights Monitoring

Holistic approach examines 3 monitoring areas providing a broad picture of human rights situation of people with disabilities.

results of holistic monitoring
Results of Holistic Monitoring
  • Individual Country Reports
  • Identification of gaps among individual experiences, government promises and societal dialogue
  • Teams of people with disabilities ready to monitor rights on an on-going basis
  • International comparative data
thank you to the following funders
THANK YOU to the following Funders:
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Community-University Research Alliance (CURA)
  • SSHRC (International Opportunities Fund)
  • Heritage Canada
  • Australian Research Council
  • Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired (SRF)
  • York University
  • University of Buffalo
  • Laval University