The Next UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Gerard Quinn, the Raoul Wallenberg Chair of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, was confirmed today the next UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Quinn, a prominent Irish academic with a global reputation in disability rights, says that some of his priorities will focus on the general calamities facing humankind including Covid-19, climate change and the scourge of armed conflicts. He wants to ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities are heard, loud and clear, in how the world reacts. More positively, he wants to focus the world’s attention on the positive contribution of persons with disabilities to peace-building, nation-building and development – active citizenship.

Also, conscious of need for systemic change to underpin the gains of the UN CRPD, he will try also to focus attention on the need for cultural and structural change involving particularly the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

gerard quinnHe previously served as Vice President of the Council of Europe’ 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.

He holds honorary appointments in China (Shanghai, Wuhan), India (Hyderabad), and Australia (UNSW, Deakin) and has won many awards for his international work from, e.g., US International Council on Disability. He is a graduate of NUI Galway, King’s Inns and Harvard Law School. He currently holds two part-time chairs in the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (Sweden) and Leeds University (UK) and lives near Kinvara, Galway.”

Quinn is visting professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, with generous support from Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

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