NUI Galway Host World’s Largest International Disability Law Summer School

Jun 04 2019 Posted: 11:45 IST

 Freyja Haraldsdottir, Co-Founder, TABU Iceland to deliver keynote address

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 17-21 June. This is the 11th International Disability Law Summer School to be hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the focus for 2019 is ‘Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Family Life’.

Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “In this summer school we interpret ‘family’ broadly – to include our families of origin, families of choice, the communities where we feel we belong. Disabled people have often been denied rights to family life – including the right to marry and form a family, the right to decide freely on the number and spacing of their children, and the rights to privacy and independence with respect to family life. This year’s summer school will explore these issues with a particular focus on how disabled people and members of the LGBTQI community can learn from each other’s work in securing rights to family life.”

Over 210 delegates from over 50 countries are registered to attend the Summer School, including persons with disabilities, civil society groups, as well as disability activists, feminist activists, LGBTQI activists, older people’s advocates, children’s rights activists, adopted persons, reproductive justice advocates, migrants and refugees, and ethnic minorities, including members of the traveller and Roma communities, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts.

The speakers will include academics, practitioners, activists, members of different UN agencies and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Our keynote speaker,Freyja Haraldsdottir, recently won her legal challenge in the Icelandic courts establishing disability discrimination against her as a prospective foster parent and she will share her lived experience.

The Co-Director of the Summer School, Dr Catriona Moloney, said: “The effect of discrimination on the basis of disability in the lives of families continues to have devastating consequences for the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for adults and children who are often denied their rights in the area of family life. The School will explore creative advocacy to advance the right to family life from around the world, informed by the experiences of front-line advocates from social movements, academia, NGOs, policymakers and other stakeholders with different forms of expertise. The purpose of the school is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the CRPD into meaningful reform for persons with disabilities. Our aim is to spur participants to think in a more inclusive way about the identities and contexts of constituencies who face barriers in exercising their right to family life and how we can ensure protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, not just in terms of antidiscrimination measures, but also in terms of policies that promote human rights across a range of different environments and contexts.”

Registration for the Summer School is still open but very limited number of spaces available. Further information is available at: or contact or 086 4181673.  Participant accessibility, physical or communicational, requests and enquiries are welcomed.


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