Disability rights tribunal for the Asia-Pacific

31 January 2013

 It is estimated by UNESCAP that there are 400 million persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly establishes the international human and legal rights of persons with disabilities. The Disability Rights Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific (DRTAP) is a Japan-based NGO aimed at raising awareness and eliciting support for the establishment of a region-based tribunal to implement the Convention in the region.

DRTAP is comprised of leaders and members of organisations of persons with disabilities, lawyers, scholars, practitioners and other stakeholders in Japan and other countries.

There is currently no regional human rights court or commission of this sort in that region. Many reasons have been offered for the absence of a regional human rights tribunal in Asia; the most serious of these is the perceived conflict between what are often denominated as “Asian values” and universal human rights. What is clear is that the lack of such a court or commission has been a major impediment in the movement to enforce disability rights in Asia.

In all regions of the world, persons with mental disabilities – especially those institutionalized because of such disabilities – are uniformly deprived of civil and human rights. The creation of this Tribunal would be the first necessary step leading to amelioration of this deprivation and realisation of those rights.