The Acculturation of International Disability Rights Norms: Perspectives from Movements in the United States and India
Degree awarded: M.A. School of International Service. American University
Despite the proliferation of inclusive policies on disability, there remains little academic literature grounded in the field of international relations that explains under which domestic socio-political conditions international disability rights norms are likely to flourish. This paper asks, ―Which factors contribute to variation in the domestic promotion of political participation and social inclusion for persons with disabilities, as exemplified by the social model of disability and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)?‖ The primary focus of the paper is to uncover certain historical processes that influence democratic and relatively wealthy countries to engage with international disability rights instruments by embracing the social-model language of the CRPD in their disability-related laws. With respect to this question, the author distinguishes the United States from India- two large, democratic countries with stable economies, which have adopted very different models within their disability laws in the 1990s. The case studies reveal that, although the U.S.`s disability laws comply with the standards of the CRPD, domestic tensions have hindered its participation as a leader in international human rights treaties. On the other hand, India`s original disability law, which does not embrace the fundamental principles of the CRPD, was a product of on-going transitions in India`s foreign policy and efforts to build a more globally engaged capitalist economy.
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