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34 Syracuse J. Int'l L. & Com. 429 (2006-2007)
Legal Capacity in the Disability Rights Convention: Stranglehold of the Past or Lodestar for the Future

handle is hein.journals/sjilc34 and id is 433 raw text is: LEGAL CAPACITY IN THE DISABILITY RIGHTS
Amita Dhanda°
Human rights conventions establish universal norms for the
international community. These norms are to be arrived at through a
process of consensus. It is popularly opined that, in a bid to obtain
unanimity, international human rights law often settles at the lowest
common denominator. If this proposition is even partially true, then
what kind of expectations of empowerment and change should be
entertained from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities (CPRD or Convention)?1 To answer this query, there is
need to analyze the settled text. However, an analysis of the text alone
will not suffice, as the process by which this Convention has been
negotiated differs from the process adopted by other human rights
treaties. The CRPD has created a dynamic process which will influence
the implementation and interpretation of the Convention. Consequently,
it is necessary to evaluate the text in a way that is informed by the
process with which the Convention has been negotiated.2 The present
' Professor of Law, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad, India,
1. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, G.A. Res. 61/106, U.N. Doc.
A/RES/61/106 (Dec. 13, 2006), available at
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm (last visited Apr. 4, 2007)
[hereinafter CRPD].
2. The General Assembly by resolution established an Ad Hoc Committee which
[s]tates, relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system, including
relevant human rights treaty bodies, the regional commissions, the Special
Rapporteur on... non-governmental organizations with an interest in the matter to
make contributions to the work entrusted to the Ad Hoc Committee, based on the
practice of the United Nations.
G.A. Res. 56/168,    1, 4, U.N. Doc. A/RES/56/168 (Feb. 26, 2002). On the strength of this
directive and due to some proactive chairing, there has been unprecedented participation by
civil society in the formulation of the Convention. This participation has influenced every
stage of the Convention process, and explains the holding of a formal plenary subsequent to
every informal session between State Parties.  The comprehensive response of the
International Disability Caucus (IDC) to the working text formulated by the Chair and the
news page brought out by the IDC were other mechanisms the civil society employed to
have its voice heard. Thus, the Convention cannot only be seen as a product of state party

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