The Promise and Challenge of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities

34 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 287 2006-2007

36 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012

See all articles by Arlene S. Kanter

Arlene S. Kanter

Syracuse University - College of Law

Date Written: 2007


This article is the first article that was published on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) , after it was adopted by the United Nations on December 13, 2006. The article chronicles the process that lead up to the adoption of the CRPD and discusses the significance of the CRPD, which marks a paradigm shift in international law from a medical model of disability to a human rights model of disability. The article also explores the potential effect of the CRPD on domestic and regional disability laws, with the author concluding that the full effect of the CRPD will depend not only on its relationship to domestic and regional disability laws but also on the will of governments and their citizens to fully implement the CRPD in order to realize its goal of full equality for people with disabilities.

This article also serves as the introduction to a Special Issue of the Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, which Professor Kanter edited, and which includes nine articles on the CRPD, including the lead article by Ambassador Donald MacKay who chaired the Ad Hoc Committee, and is credited with the successful resolution of Convention negotiation and drafting process. The articles that are included in this Special Issue do not discuss all the various provisions of the Convention, nor do they present the diverse viewpoints on the Convention. They do, however, present various perspectives on how the Convention may relate to regional and domestic disability laws and practices as well as its potential for changing the way people with disabilities may live throughout the world. It is the hope that this Special Issue — the first such issue to be published since the adoption of the Disability Convention — will introduce to its readers the many issues that will need to be resolved as the Convention moves towards ratification and implementation in various countries around the world as well as those issues left unresolved and are in need for further research and advocacy. To help with this effort, the final article in the issue is a comprehensive guide of international and comparative disability law sources prepared by Professor Kanter and Wendy Scott, Assistant Director for Faculty & Outreach Services of the H. Douglas Barclay Law Library, at the Syracuse University College of Law, and which is posted on the Syracuse University College of Law website.

Suggested Citation

Kanter, Arlene S., The Promise and Challenge of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (2007). 34 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 287 2006-2007, Available at SSRN:

Arlene S. Kanter (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States

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