DREAM Researchers Participate in Round-table Discussion on Human Rights and Disability

""DREAM researchers, Ieva Eskyte, Anthony Giannoumis and Magdi Birtha participated in a round-table discussion titled Human Rights and Disability: between choice and control at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas Lithuania on 21st October. The event aimed to facilitate  discussion and raise awareness on the importance of disability studies and disability rights.

The round-table addressed the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stating,

Since the key message of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) is that disabled people have to exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms equally with non-disabled citizens, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss disability and human rights issues in different contexts. For instance, different models of disability will be discussed from Scandinavian, British and Lithuanian perspectives. In addition, the relation between accessibility, disability movement and private markets will be analysed. Special attention will be paid to disability research, ethics and methods.

Practitioners, scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines presented their professional and academic experiences in the field of disability and human rights.


The full program included,

  • Welcome &  Some Thoughts about Social Sensitivity, Reciprocity & Dialogue. Dean prof. Jonas Ruškus of Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Vytautas Magnus University, People with Disabilities and the Right to Reveal Potential. Ieva Danilevičienė, Vytautas Magnus University
  • The impact of family and friends social support on accepting mobility impairments. Laura Alčiauskaitė, dr. Liuda Šinkariova, Vytautas Magnus University
  • A comparative case study of e-accessibility policy implementation in the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States. G. Anthony Giannoumis, The Norwegian Social Research Institute
  • Information provision in the mainstream private market: business practices and disabled customers’ realities. Ieva Eskytė, University of Leeds, Centre for Disability Studies, UK
  • Participation of persons with disabilities in policy and decision-making processes. Magdi Birtha, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway

DREAM would like to warmly thank the conveners at Vytautas Magnus University for the opportunity to work together in realizing the rights of persons with disabilities.


DREAM Early Stage Researchers presenting at NNDR Conference 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Seven Early Stage Researchers from the DREAM network attended and presented at the Twelfth Nordic Network of Disability Research Conference in Turku, Finland 30-31 May 2013.

Keynote speakers at the conference included Eva Feder Kittay, Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University; Dan Goodley, Professor of Disability Studies and Education, University of Sheffield; Jan Grue, Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics, University of Oslo, Norway; and Kalle Könkkölä, Executive Director of the Threshold Association, Helsinki, Finland.

Over the two days, the ESRs presented abstracts and posters and got to meet various disability academics from around the world. The following is a list of each ESR and the title of their presentations:

  • Anna Arstein-Kerslake: An empowering dependency: Exploring the role of supported decision-maker.
  • Magdi Birtha: “Nothing about CRPD monitoring without us” – case study on the involvement of the disability movement in policy-making in Zambia.
  • Ciara Brennan: “Theorizing the economics of independent living: Commodification of human rights in Iceland in a Nordic context” with Rannveig Traustadóttir and “The CRPD, independent living and user-led personal assistance”.
  • Ieva Eskyte: Shopping Accessibility: between the ideal and the real.
  • Robert Huffaker: Legal Framework on eAccessibility: A legislation review.
  • Carly Toepke: Participation and inclusive education under the UNCRPD.
  • Betül Yalcin: Employer attitudes towards employment of disabled people: a comparative analysis in the European context.

Rune Halvorson, PI from NOVA, presented “New policies to promote youth inclusion in the labour market? Disability in the Nordic welfare states”.

Rannveig Traustadóttir, PI from the University of Iceland, presented “Implementing and monitoring the CRPD” and “Childhood disability, space, place and identity” and chaired the symposiums titled “Implementing the CRPD” and “Childhood and Disability”.

5th International Disability Law Summer School.

The popular Summer School will again bring together leading international activists, policy-influences and others connected with the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The theme this year will be VOICE (restoring
full legal capacity) and CHOICE (achieving community living in accordance with the wishes and preferences of the person)


Date/Time: Monday 17th June, 2013 – June 22nd, 2013. Venue: Aras Moyola,
National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland.

Community Living for All – Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities.

This conference will consider how the EU Structural Funds can ne better harnessed in the future to achieve community living and empowerment for both older people and people with disabilities.  It is been held ‘in association with the Irish Presidency
of the Council of the European Union.’


Date/Time: Friday 3 May, 2013, 9.30am – 5.30pm. Venue: Aras Moyola, National
University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland.

9 April 2013 – Launch of Volume 3 of the European Yearbook of Disability Law in the EP


Launch of Volume 3 of the

European Yearbook of Disability Law


 Research Colloquium:

“The Future of European Disability Scholarship as a Tool for European Policy Makers.”

Keynote: Anna Lawson, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Leeds


Co-Organized by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, based at the National University of Ireland (Galway), and the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights of Maastricht University.


Hosted by: Mairead McGuinness (MEP) and Marian Harkin (MEP).

Date/Time: Tuesday, 9th April 2013, 12pm-3pm

Venue: European Parliament, Room P5B001, PHS Building, Brussels.


Languages: English and International Sign

The event will be preceded by a light lunch to which participants are invited.


To Register:

(This event requires pre-registration)

Please fill out the registration form and return to:

charlotte.may-simera@nuigalway.ie or

Charlotte May-Simera

Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway

For more information please visit the CDLP website: http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events/yearbook_launch.html 


The launch of the book is an opportunity to bring together a range of stakeholders in the disability field, such as civil society and industry representatives, academics, human rights activists, policy-makers from European and national institutions and politicians, including Members of the European Parliament, to discuss and map out the future of European legal research and scholarship on disability.

The research colloquium, held in conjunction with the book launch, will provide a unique opportunity to increase the efforts and possibility to network and forge links between disability stakeholders from across the EU. Additionally, the occasion of the book launch is an opportunity to bring together and encourage the exchange of ideas and expertise amongst many disability stakeholders. This event will gather a wide audience from a variety of backgrounds and mandates to establish cross-sectoral links between numerous areas, most notably between, civil society, academia and EU and national institutions.

This research colloquium and the ensuing discussions are a key opportunity to frame disability policies and reform discussion as they continue to emerge. There are a number of key challenges and debates facing Europe in the coming decade, and disability scholarship can play a crucial role in providing accurate information to decision-makers, framing debates, and forming solutions to potential challenges. One example of an area where academic research can contribute to the debate is in the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The EU concluded the Convention in 2010, and most Member States have now ratified, or are close to ratification. Current debates in this area have focused on how a division of responsibilities and competencies can be agreed between the EU and its Member States, and this is another area in which disability scholarship can provide clarity and elucidation.



Prof. Lisa Waddington (European Disability Forum Chair in European Disability Law, Maastricht University)

Prof. Gerard Quinn (Director, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway)

Dr. Eilionóir Flynn (Senior Lecturer, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway)

The Yearbook can be ordered here.

DREAM Panel – Disability Policy in Crisis – accepted to 20th International Conference of Europeanists

cover of conference brochureA panel submission by DREAM ESRs Stelios CharitakisG. Anthony Giannoumis, and Ieva Eskyte will be presented at the 20th International Conference of Europeanists 25 to 27 June 2013 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The panel titled “Disability Policy in Crisis – Legal, Public Policy and Practical Approaches” will be chaired by Dr. Mark Davis, and Dr. Thomas Campbell will be acting as the discussant.

The panel will be divided into three sections:

  • Austerity measures in Greece: Do they violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? presented by Stelios Charitakis
  • Disability.eu – the impact of the crisis on the participation of persons with disabilities on the web presented by G. Anthony Giannoumis
  • Accessible Private Market for Disabled People? Crisis in Policy and Market Practices presented by Ieva Eskyte

Panel Summary: The austerity measures that have been adopted throughout Europe have put pressure to the beneficiaries of social welfare, most significantly minorities. As a minority group, disabled people are facing significant reductions or cuts to their benefits. Households with people with impairments are more vulnerable because they have lower than average household incomes. At the same time, a crucial shift on how disabled people are perceived has emerged from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This UN Treaty marked the shift from the medical model of disability that focused on the impairment of disabled people and was expressed through social welfare benefits, to the social model that promotes full participation and inclusion for people with disabilities through the removal of barriers to equal and active participation in society. States are not the only ones responsible for the implementation of this approach. The private sector in general can be and should be, according to the Convention, leading that cause. Furthermore, the Convention focuses particular attention on information and communication technology (ICT), because of the important role it plays in ensuring social inclusion and full participation in society for disabled people.

The first speaker will take a legal approach. They will examine the case of cutbacks in Greece and will identify the measures that have been taken to reduce the benefits for people with disabilities. The discussion will include whether these measures amount to a violation of the CRPD or whether they are justified, according to Human Rights law. Finally, whether these measures can be seen as an opportunity to change the medical model approach and focus more on the social model approach and what measures Greece have taken to that respect will be considered.

The second speaker will take a public policy approach. They will compare regulatory regimes in the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States, focusing particularly on the social regulation of ICT service providers. The discussion will include the impact of the economic crisis on policy implementation in terms of the choice of policy tools (legislative, incentive, or hortatory). Finally regulatory enforcement of web design will be discussed in terms of standard setting, monitoring, certification and compliance.

The third speaker will take a practice oriented approach. They will examine practical measures that need to be taken by governments in order to achieve a more accessible private market for disabled people. The discussion will cover the impact of economic crisis on disabled shoppers’ position and patterns in the market as well as on experiences of sellers and producers of ICT. The discussion will be framed in Habermas’ life world colonization theory and informed by the position of the EU through a discussion of pertinent policy documents.

Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries

University of Washington LogoJune 27 & 28, 2013—Seattle, WA, USA

Ensuring the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society for people with disabilities through the provision of appropriate technology and rehabilitation services. 

Symposium Goals

The primary goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers, clinicians, consumers, consumer led organizations, technology developers and providers, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders who focus on improving and increasing access to technology and rehabilitation products and services with the goal of ensuring full inclusion and participation for people with disabilities in low-resourced comm10unities in low and middle income countries.

Symposium Themes

This symposium supports the purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), that is, “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”  The 50 articles in the CRPD detail the breadth of human rights belonging to people with disabilities. Although the full scope of the CRPD is relevant, in this symposium, we are primarily interested in proposals that address:

  • Article 9—Accessibility
  • Article 19—Living  independently and being included in the community
  • Article 20—Personal mobility
  • Article 25—Health
  • Article 26—Habilitation & rehabilitation

We are also interested in the following as they relate to rehabilitation, assistive technology, and accessible information and communication technologies:

  • Article 24—Education
  • Article 27—Work and employment

Read more about the symposium at their website.

Disability, between individual trajectories and institutional rationale: employment, work and social policy

The international symposium “Disability, between individual trajectories and institutional rationale : employment, work and social policy”, funded within the framework of the IReSP/MiRe/CNSA calls for projects, aims to take stock of French research while welcoming international contributions on issues relating to disability, employment and social policies. The symposium will take place on Thursday 11 April and Friday 12 April 2013 at the University of Lille 3, France.

The papers, expected in English or French, will be divided into three issues:

  • Disabled people and employment policies
  • Disabled people at work
  • Occupational interruptions and biographical rupture

Research presented should involve any national or supra-national context and may relate to institutions, individual life courses or, ideally, both. Methods used may be quantitative, qualitative or archive-based.

Deadline for proposed papers: *Monday 3 December 2012*

You will find in the full length call for papers in English and in French, and all information on the symposium will be – gradually – put on this webpage : http://www.ceriesrqth.net/colloque/

There will be no registration fee for our symposium, and we will provide French food and wine to our contributors and discussants. However it will be more difficult to fund transportation and accommodation – still, some exceptions are possible if your institution can’t grant it.

We are enthusiastically looking forward receiving your papers’s proposals.

Louis Bertrand for the organizing comittee

**Organizing committee*: Louis Bertrand, Vincent Caradec, Muriel Delporte, Jean-Sébastien Eideliman *Academic committee:* Jean-Claude Barbier, Jean-Yves Barreyre, Louis Bertrand, Alain Blanc, Marie-Christine Bureau, Marcel Calvez, Vincent Caradec, Muriel Delporte, Michel Desjardins, Jean-Sébastien Eideliman, Benoît Eyraud, Anders Gustavsson, Claude Martin, Barbara Rist, Eric Samoy, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Isabelle Ville, Florence Weber

Invitation to the DREAM Network-Wide Event in Madrid, Spain: Friday 15 June 2012

The DREAM Initial Training Network and Fundosa Technosite would like to invite you to the  DREAM Network-Wide Event on Cost-Benefit Analysis on Disability: Approaches, Practices and Impact of the European Union’s Policy on eAccessibility.

Topics covered will include approaches and results of cost benefit analysis studies, accessibility policy and practice in the banking sector, key aspects of costs and benefits in accessibility and policy traits of the UN CRPD and the DREAM network.

Guest speakers include Mr. Jesus Hernandez, Director of Universal Accessibility at ONCE Foundation; Ms. Blanca Alcanda, CEO at Technosite; Dr. Jose Angel Martinez Usero, Director of International Projects and Relations at Technosite; Prof. Gerard Quinn, Project Coordinator of DREAM ITN Network; Prof. Thea van der Geest, University of Twente; and and Mr. Josep Marti Salat, ATM business development manager at “la Caixa”.

The morning of 15 of June 2012

If you are interested in participating and would like to receive a full programme please send an email to: dream@technosite.es before 12 June 2012 including your name, position and organization.

Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities in International and EU Law Workshop Comments

European University InstituteSome of the  DREAMers (Anna, Dimitrios, Emilja, and myself) went to the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities in International and EU Law Workshop of the EUI Human Rights Working Group and the Academy of European Law in Florence, Italy last Friday, April 27, 2012. The workshop took place in one of EUI’s villa conference rooms.

European University Institute Sign

The speakers at this conference were Martin Sheinin, a professor of Public International Law at EUI who was a member of the UN Committee on Human Rights and UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights While Coutnering Terrorism, Jukka Kumpuvuori, a lawyer and disability rights activist, Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho, a diplomat from Mexico who is the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations, Masa Anisic an EUI researcher, Christian Courtis, a professor and acting head of the Economic and Social Issues Section with the UN Office of the High Commissioner, Theresia Degener, a professor of law and disability studies and a member of the UN CRPD Committee, Delia Ferri, an Honorary Fellow at the University of Verona, Philippe Reyniers, a PhD Researcher in Law at EUI, Claire Kirkpatrick, a professor of International and European Labour and Social Law at EUI, Danai Angeli, a PhD Candidate at EUI, Andrea Dabizzi, a Human Rights Adviser for the Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stefan Trömel, the Executive Director of the Secretariat of the International Disability Alliance, and Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, a PhD Researcher in Law at EUI.

The speakers provided the participants with engaging topics ranging from the history of the UNCRPD,  challenges and level of compliance of the UN CRPD, the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities through the core UN bodies, constitutionalization of discrimination rights in the EU, to the role of DPOs in the rights of persons with disabilities. The speakers were very informative and brought up much fruitful discussion between all of the participants.

Before during and after the workshop, participants were able to mingle and make connections in the beautiful villa conference room, surrounded by gorgeous Florentine gardens.

All-in-all the workshop was a true success and really showed many differing perspectives and ideas about how the UN CRPD can best assist persons with disabilities in accessing human rights.

Thank you EUI for hosting and inviting us!