Fall 2013 Human Rights Conference
Webster University’s Fall 2013 Human Rights Conference will focus on disability in a global context. Almost ten percent of the world’s population has physical or mental impairments, yet discrimination against persons with disabilities is the norm rather than the exception. Access to jobs, education, and public accommodations is scarce. In many countries, persons with disabilities are still warehoused in degrading and dangerous conditions, apart from their families and friends. The abuse of persons with disabilities, sometimes reaching the legal definition of torture, goes largely unseen or unacknowledged.
Webster’s conference will bring together issue leaders and pioneers in the struggle to recognize disability rights as an international human rights issue. Recently, activists achieved their greatest success when the United Nations adopted a Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention, modeled in ways on the Americans with Disabilities Act, set a new standard for legal equality and equality of opportunity worldwide. Unfortunately many countries, including the United States, have failed to ratify the Convention, while other nations have formally offered their support and yet continued to tolerate abusive conditions at home. Participants in this conference will explore the current status and conditions of persons with disabilities worldwide and discuss successes and failures in the struggle to realize the promise of the Convention. The conference program will be of interest to human rights scholars and activists, including both persons with disabilities and the temporarily able-bodied.