NUI Galway Host World’s Largest Disability Law Summer School

Jun 12 2017 Posted: 16:24 IST

The world’s largest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in NUI Galway from 19-23 June. This is the 9th Summer School to be hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the theme for 2017 is ‘Psychosocial Disability’.

The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities throughout the world. Leading experts on disability law and policy will look at some of the strategies successfully used to protect the rights and improve the lives of people with psychosocial disabilities around the world.

Over 200 delegates from over 50 countries are registered to attend the Summer School, including persons with disabilities, family members, civil society groups, as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The teaching faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform.  This year’s event will be addressed by leading users and survivors of psychiatry who have experienced mental health problems, or have used or survived mental health services and are to the fore advocating for the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with psychosocial disability.

Mr Dainius Pūras the UN Special Rapporteur on health will give a keynote address at the Summer School.  Mr Pūras has been outspoken on the regrettable trend in recent decades of the excessive medicalization of mental health and the overuse of biomedical interventions, including in the treatment of depression and suicide prevention, which he considers to be a biased and selective use of research outcomes that has negatively influenced mental health policies and services.

Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar the UN Special Rapporteur on disability will also give a keynote address.  Ms Devandas in her work has highlighted the exclusion of persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities, in accessing essential services, such as health care, education or justice, owing to existing discriminatory legal and policy frameworks, segregated facilities and/or the lack of support, including support services.

Director of the Summer School, Dr Charles O'Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “Ireland was one of the first countries to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007.  Ten years later Ireland remains the only Member State of the European Union not to have ratified the Convention. The failure to ratify the CRPD calls into question the commitment of successive Irish Governments to recognise the rights of persons with disabilities and means that Ireland and is an outlier amongst the international community in this area. 

The theme of the Summer School is on realising the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. Persons with psychosocial disabilities encounter many barriers to exercising their civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights. Their rights are often ignored in the mainstream human rights discourse.  As such the Summer School is important to highlight the challenges and opportunities in achieving full and equal enjoyment of the human rights that are often taken for granted, such as the right to live in the community, make decisions and refuse medical treatment.”

Registration for the Summer School is now closed as it has reached its capacity.

For more information visit: or contact or 086 4181673. 

Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed.


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