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Health-Related Rehabilitation and Human Rights: Analyzing States' Obligations Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • Dimitrios Skempes
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Dimitrios Skempes, PT, MPH, Swiss Paraplegic Research, Guido A. Zaech Institute, CH-6207, Nottwil, Switzerland.
    Affiliations
    Disability Policy Group, Human Functioning Unit, Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF), Nottwil, Switzerland

    Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy, University of Lucerne, Lucerne; and SPF, Nottwil, Switzerland
    Search for articles by this author
  • Gerold Stucki
    Affiliations
    Disability Policy Group, Human Functioning Unit, Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF), Nottwil, Switzerland

    Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy, University of Lucerne, Lucerne; and SPF, Nottwil, Switzerland
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  • Jerome Bickenbach
    Affiliations
    Disability Policy Group, Human Functioning Unit, Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF), Nottwil, Switzerland

    Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy, University of Lucerne, Lucerne; and SPF, Nottwil, Switzerland
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Published:August 14, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.07.410

      Abstract

      Globally, disability represents a major challenge for health systems and contributes to the rising demand for rehabilitation care. An extensive body of evidence testifies to the barriers that people with disabilities confront in accessing rehabilitation services and to the enormous impact this has on their lives. The international legal dimension of rehabilitation is underexplored, although access to rehabilitation is a human right enshrined in numerous legal documents, specifically the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, to date, no study has analyzed the implications of the Convention for Rehabilitation Policy and Organization. This article clarifies states' obligations with respect to health-related rehabilitation for persons with disabilities under the Convention. These obligations relate to the provision of rehabilitation but extend across several key human right commitment areas such as equality and nondiscrimination; progressive realization; international cooperation; participation in policymaking processes; the accessibility, availability, acceptability, and quality of rehabilitation services; privacy and confidentiality; and informed decision making and accountability. To support effective implementation of the Convention, governments need to focus their efforts on all these areas and devise appropriate measures to monitor compliance with human rights principles and standards in rehabilitation policy, service delivery, and organization. This article lays the foundations for a rights-based approach to rehabilitation and offers a framework that may assist in the evaluation of national rehabilitation strategies and the identification of gaps in the implementation of the Convention.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)
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