The EU in the Negotiation of the UN Disability Convention
European Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2010
23 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2009 Last revised: 24 Mar 2010
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a novel and ambitious human rights treaty which entered into force in 2008. Amongst its many interesting features are two of particular relevance to the European Union. The first is its strikingly ‘experimentalist’ architecture, to use the term coined by Charles Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin in describing EU governance, and the second is the fact that this was the first occasion on which the European Community, as it then was, participated in the drafting and signing of an international human rights treaty. This article examines the role played by the EC in the process of negotiating the CRPD and considers whether or not the EU significantly influenced the experimentalist character of the Convention. It concludes that while the EU was, on the whole, an active and supportive participant in the drafting process, the Convention’s experimentalist character was driven by other factors, in particular by the central role of NGOs and other non-state actors in the negotiation process. The EU, on the other hand, strove mainly to promote the adoption of its own internal model of disability discrimination at the international level.
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