Observing legislative processes: implementation of UNCRPD

Project goals

The main focus of the research project is the observation of legislative processes in Austria concerning the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2006).

One of the leading principles of the UNCRPD is to ensure the right of self-determination which includes that people with mental disabilities are assumed as capable of claiming their rights and making decisions based on their own free and informed consent. Austria has been a contracting party of the above mentioned Convention, which aims to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities since September 2008. In order to create accordance with the UNCRPD the Austrian Ministry of Justice is – among other legal regulations – revising the regulations on legal guardianship (“Sachwalterschaft”). The process of this legal reform will be monitored.

Article 4 (3) UNCRPD demands the obligatory consultation and active involvement of affected people in the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention through their representative organizations.

This (self-)representation of persons with disabilities within the observed legislative process shall be evaluated and compared with their (self-)representation within the implementation process of the UNCRPD in New Zealand, Australia and Germany. Germany was chosen as the legal system in general and the regulations on legal guardianship in particular are comparable to the Austrian. New Zealand was one of the leading countries concerning the self-representation of persons with disabilities during the development of the UNCRPD on national and international level. Australia was selected, because of its similarities to the legal and political system of New Zealand. These comparisons will on the one hand provide an additional angle to reflect on the situation and the processes in Austria. On the other hand comparisons always give the chance to learn from each other.

The aim of our project is to identify appropriate standards for the inclusion of persons with disabilities which are in line with the requirements of the UNCRPD.

Focusing on Austria the evaluation of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in legislative processes can nevertheless be expected to provide valuable insights for other countries, hopefully especially for the countries included in the comparison. The results of the project will provide enhanced standards for the involvement of civil society in future legislative processes.

Methods

To answer the research questions a variety of research methods will be applied. These include traditional legal approaches as well as interviews and questionnaires. A legal interpretation of the UNCRPD and an international literature review shall be conducted.  Interviews and questionnaires will aim at persons with disabilities, their representatives and government officials, who were included in the legislative process. Especially the interviews with persons with disabilities will ask for appropriate interview techniques.

Contact information

For further information, please contact:

Michael Ganner (Professor at the University of Innsbruck, project leader): Michael.Ganner@uibk.ac.at

Eva Nachtschatt (Research Associate): Eva.Nachtschatt@uibk.ac.at

Alexander Lamplmayr (Research Associate): Alexander.Lamplmayr@uibk.ac.at