York Researcher receives $1 million in funding to build a Global Disability Rights Monitoring System

York University Distinguished Research Professor Marcia Rioux, in the School of Health Policy and Management in the Faculty of Health, has received more than $1 million in funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and York University contributions to support the final phase of development of a global disability rights monitoring system.

Professor Marcia Rioux
York Distinguished Research Professor Marcia Rioux

The funding will help to entrench and sustain the final phase of Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI), a multi-year international, collaborative project to address disability discrimination, founded by Bengt Lindqvist, former United Nations special rapporteur on disability, and Rioux, founder and first program director of the MA and PhD programs in Critical Disability Studies at York University.

Rioux, her research team and international colleagues have been working, particularly with countries in the Global South, to develop a unique and innovative solution for the reporting requirements set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The final phase of the project will aim to:

• Enhance the sustainability of ongoing disability rights monitoring activities led by organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) into the future.
• Strengthen the effectiveness of DRPI’s Regional Centres to act as focal points for disability rights monitoring activities in their respective regions and internationally
• Field test and launch an interactive online training course on disability rights monitoring
• Develop and field-test a system for online collection of individual experiences of persons with disabilities
• Develop human rights indicators to enable measurement of progress in the realization of human rights for persons with disabilities
• Coordinate disability rights monitoring activities in all regions and further key partnerships through the International Coordination Centre

“SIDA’s continuing support for the human rights of people with disabilities shows an exemplary commitment to social justice,” said Rioux.

Previous phases of this project focused on developing and piloting tools and methods to monitor disability rights, which led to DRPI’s monitoring methodology being used by people with disabilities to conduct disability rights monitoring in more than 20 different countries throughout the world. DRPI established and built the capacity of Regional Monitoring Centres based in existing organizations of persons with disabilities in 5 regions (Africa, Europe & Central Asia, Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America). These regional centres have been the focal points for disability rights monitoring activities.

In 2009, Rioux also received a more than $2.2 million from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to research disability rights. In 2006, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)’s Community-University Research Alliances program provided Rioux and her team with just under $1 million to fund Monitoring the Human Rights of People with Disabilities in Canada. She has also received funding from the Australian Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada International Opportunities Fund and been invited to consult with governments and disabled persons associations around the globe to discuss disability rights.

“Professor Rioux’s disability rights research reflects York’s strengths in advancing social justice initiatives and providing a lasting legacy of benefits to cultures and societies” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation. “The DRPI project is a prime example of how York researchers are working collaboratively with government and community agencies to solve increasingly complex global issues.”