E-Discussion on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities
Monday, June 11, 2012- Friday, June 22, 2012
You are kindly invited to join an e-discussion on: “Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities” from 11 to 22 June 2012.
The e-discussion is open to a broad range of participants, including national and international development agencies, government officials dealing with issues of access to justice, judiciaries, lawyers, academics, NGOs, Disabled Peoples Organizations and the general public.
The e-discussion will be held in English and will take place on-line through a listserv subscription. Please subscribe by 3 June 2012 through the required on-line form at: http://globalforumljd.org/involved/discussion_subscribe.htm. Unfortunately, no e-mail requests to subscribe are possible. Once you subscribe, you will be provided with the terms of reference for participation in the e-discussion. Please share this invitation with colleagues whom you think might be interested.
The objective of the e-discussion is to provide a primer on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities, to gather examples of denials of access to justice from persons with disabilities, to explore best practices and to develop a bibliography of research and other resources.
The e-discussion is organized by a Community of Practice on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities in the framework of the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (GFL JD) (for more info please visit the web site www.globalforumljd.org. This Community of Practice includes GFLJD’s partners such as the American Bar Association, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, Women Enabled and the World Bank, as well as other organizations such as the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The e-discussion will begin with the following thoughts on access to justice and persons with disabilities: “Access to Justice” is a broad concept, encompassing peoples’ effective access to the systems, procedures, information, and locations used in the administration of justice. People who feel wronged or mistreated in some way usually turn to their country’s justice system for redress. In addition, people may be called upon to participate in the justice system, f or example, as witnesses or as jurors in a trial. Persons with disabilities have often been denied access to fair and equal treatment before courts, tribunals, law enforcement officials, prison systems, and other bodies that make up the justice system in their country because they have faced barriers. Additionally, persons with disabilities have been discriminated against in terms of attaining positions as lawyers, judges, and other officials in the justice system. Such barriers not only limit the ability of persons with disabilities to use the justice system, but also limit their ability to contribute to the administration of justice and to the community as a whole. Additionally, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Articles 12 and 13 enumerate the rights to legal capacity and access to justice for persons with disabilities, respectively.
Each day of the e-discussion will focus on a separate subj ect.
- What is justice, what are its forms, institutions, mechanisms, types of remedies sought, and the impact of these different systems on persons with disabilities;
- Examples of denials of justice to persons with disabilities;
- Inte rnational and regional mechanisms addressing the issue of access to justice;
- Social and cultural factors precluding access to justice for persons with disabilities, including stigma and negative cultural attitudes, lack of awareness and knowledge of rights by persons with disabilities and their families;
- Lack of knowledge of disability-related issues by the justice system itself;
< span>· Legal preclusions, including lack of national disability-related legislation or lack of its enforcement, denials of legal capacity, absence of legal recognition of sign language, prohibitions against appearing as witnesses, etc.;
- Physical preclusion and lack of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities in the justice system; and
- Unique aspects of access to justice for specific populations of persons with disabilities, including women and girls, rural and indigenous persons, LGBTI persons, older persons, persons in situations of conflict and post-conflict or natural disasters.
We look forward to your participation in the e-discussion, which certainly will be a fruitful one. Please contact us with any questions.
Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.
Co-Leader, Community of Practice on Persons with Disabilities (GFLJD)
Founder and President, WomenEnabled
Co-chair, ASIL International Disability Rights Interest Group
International Human Rights Lawyer, Researcher and Consultant
Washington, DC, United States