Go On! ASIL, NYLS to Host Panel on Need for a Disability Rights Tribunal in Asia/Pacific Sept. 29

The American Society of International Law International Courts and Tribunals Interest Group and the Disability Rights Interest Group will be hosting a luncheon Panel Discussion on “The Need for a Disability Rights Tribunal in Asia and the Pacific” on Monday, September 29, 2014, from noon to 2 pm at the New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, New York 10013.


There is no question that the existence of regional human rights courts and commissions has been an essential element in the enforcement of international human rights in those regions of the world where such tribunals exist. In the specific area of mental disability law, there is now a remarkably robust body of case law from the European Court on Human Rights, some significant and transformative decisions from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and at least one major case from the African Commission on Human Rights.

In Asia and the Pacific region, however, there is no such body. The lack of such a court or commission has been a major impediment in the movement to enforce disability rights in that area.

The need for such a body has further intensified since the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In order for the CRPD to be more than a mere “paper victory,” it must be enforced. Only then can we begin to be optimistic about the real-life impact of the CRPD on the rights of persons with disabilities in Asian and the Pacific region.

The creation of a Disability Rights Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific (DRTAP) would be the first necessary step leading to amelioration of the deprivation of civil rights of this population. It would also be, ultimately, a likely inspiration for a full regional human rights tribunal in this area of the world.

This panel will consider the existence and role of regional human rights tribunals in regions other than Asia, some of the important disability rights cases litigated in those tribunals so as to demonstrate how regional tribunals have had a significant impact on the lives of persons with disabilities, the need for a body like DRTAP, focusing specifically on the gap between current domestic law on the books and how such law is practiced in reality, as well as the importance of what is termed the “Asian values” debate, and why the creation of the DRTAP is timely, inevitable, and essential if the CRPD is to be given true effect.


The following individuals will be on the Panel:

  •  Eva Szeli, former director of European Operations for Mental Disability Rights International, and co-author of International Human Rights Law and Comparative Mental Disability Law: Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press 2016)
  • Maya Sabatello, lecturer on human rights and co-author of Human Rights and Disability Advocacy (U. of Pennsylvania Press)


  • Michael Stein, Harvard Law School & William and Mary Law School; co-director. Harvard Law School Project on Disability


Moderator: Prof. Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School, Director, International Mental Disability Law Reform Project.

For more information, contact Michael Perlin at mperlin [at] nyls.edu.