About

Realizing the political rights of persons with disabilities (PODI) examines the political rights of persons with disabilities and focuses on the political participation of their civil society organisations. Taking as its point of departure the adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities PODI examines under which conditions disabled people’s organisations are most likely to achieve voice and influence on decision-making processes of importance for their own lives and for society as a whole, including examples of promising practice.

We are particularly interested in the experiences of disabled people’s organizations with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) so far and how disabled people’s organizations in Europe work with their respective governments. By comparing the experiences of disabled people’s organizations in Germany, Italy, Norway and the UK we aim to identify

  • what disabled people’s organizations in Europe can learn from each other in their work with the CRPD
  • how politicians can promote the involvement of disabled people’s organizations in deliberation and implementation of policies of importance for the disabled people.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a comprehensive international treaty to promote and protect human rights. In 2010 it became the first UN rights treaty concluded by the EU and its implementation is framed by the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, as well as the national disability strategies of European countries. The treaty requires European governments, and the EU, to ‘closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities’, notably ‘through their representative organizations’. This includes legislative consultation, opportunities for political participation, and full involvement in rights monitoring systems. The UN has expressed concern about shortcomings in the involvement of disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) both at the national level and in the EU. To overcome the shortcomings and enable monitoring of progress in the involvement of DPOs the UN has recommended developing a human rights based indicators system.

PODI will produce new knowledge to help make this a reality. It will launch the first cross-national and multilevel study of disability movements in Europe, beginning with in-depth data from four European countries (UK, Norway, Germany and Italy), and from EU and UN institutions. It will identify facilitators and barriers to implementation, and make proposals for indicators that will aid the EU and European governments in monitoring their fulfilment of the UNCRPD.

PODI has four objectives:

  1. To compare forms of self-organisation among persons with disabilities in four European countries – including people with mobility, visual, psychosocial (mental health) and cognitive impairments.
  2. To define the mechanisms of consultation, mobilisation and collective voice by which disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) have been represented and engaged in political participation.
  3. To indicate the conditions under which DPOs are most likely to achieve voice and influence in decision-making processes, including examples of promising practice.
  4. To establish a framework for future international comparative research concerning DPOs and disability movements.

 

New data will be generated from semi-structured interviews with key informants in DPOs and government in the four countries, and at the EU level. The project will be carried out together with the European Disability Forum, Brussels.

The research team includes Rune Halvorsen (PI), Mark Priestley and Angharad Beckett. The Centre for Disability Studies will collaborate with civil society organizations of persons with disabilities (via the European Disability Forum) in all stages of the project. We invite civil society organizations of persons with disabilities to become involved and share their experiences.

If you have any questions about the research project, please contact

  • Rune Halvorsen (tel. 0113 34 30669, email: r.halvorsen@leeds.ac.uk) or
  • Mark Priestley (tel 0113-34-34417, email: M.A.Priestley@leeds.ac.uk).

PODI is a 12 month project based on an Individual Fellowship under H2020 MSCA-IF-2016 (Grant number 749519).