The Year In Review 2020: RWI Professor Joins the United Nations as Special Rapporteur

gerard quinn This year Gerard Quinn, our affiliated Professor and the previous Raoul Wallenberg Chair of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The celebrated appointment follows Professor Quinn’s previous roles as Vice President of the Council of Europe’s treaty monitoring body on social rights, as a temporary civil servant in the European Commission and as Director of Research in the Irish Government’s Law Reform Commission.

He drafted the leading 2002 UN Study (supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs) that helped start negotiations on the UN Disability Treaty and led global human rights commissions during the final stages of negotiation. Quinn is a professor of law at the University of Leeds.

At the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Quinn has worked closely with Senior Researcher Anna Bruce on international disability rights. Recently they worked together on our 2021 publication The Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons in a Pandemic: Findings from Two Studies Conducted in China.

Professor Quinn further contributed with an important article to the book co-edited by Morten Kjaerum: Covid-19 and Human Rights published at Routledge.

Gerard Quinn emphasises that the Raoul Wallenberg Institute has given space and encouragement to primary researchers internationally.

He celebrates the Covid-19 & Human Right’s publication, and he notes that the last year’s research in China was able to “[bring] together an exceptionally good interdisciplinary team, whose insights are quite fantastic and have exposed the raw edges of the pandemic.”

Indeed, he underscores that the project provides granularity to primary research collection in the time of the pandemic, and some positive news — that service providers are radically rethinking how they provide for disabled and older persons in a more continuous and stable manner.

Quinn celebrates the intersection of research at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute with the UN mandate, and we celebrate his new appointment.

The RWI’s Director, Morten Kjaerum adds, “We are proud and happy that Gerard Quinn has assumed his functions in this important role. Thanks to his extensive knowledge in disability rights, human rights in general, and rich experience from the everyday realities for persons with disabilities he will make an excellent Special Rapporteur. We look forward to supporting him in his task where there is still a long way to achieving the goals.”

Photo: UN by Mathias PR Reding Unsplash

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