The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics   |  September 29, 2010

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This article reviews the contributions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the progressive development of both international human rights law and global health law and governance. It provides a summary of the global situation of persons with disabilities and outlines the progressive development of international disability standards, noting the salience of the shift from a medical model of disability to a rights-based social model reflected in the CRPD. Thereafter, the article considers the Convention’s structure and substantive content, and then analyzes in specific detail the particular contributions of the Convention to health and human rights law and global health governance. It concludes with an exploration of the potential implications of the CRPD’s innovations for some of the most pressing issues in global health governance, including the Convention’s contributions to the principle of participation in decision-making.

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