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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

This Article examines the history of disability law in the United States and the future of disability rights domestically and globally. The author describes the origins, moral salience, and limitations of the current social model of disability rights, and advocates for a human rights-based approach to disability rights. Specifically, the author notes the social model's laudable achievement in promulgating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 199o (ADA). Further, the author emphasizes the positive effects of the ADA on disability rights legislation internationally. However, this Article also presents the weaknesses of the current social model; the author suggests that due to the fact that current legislation is unable to protect many aspects of the disabled person's life, a change from the current model is necessary. This Article sets forth the steps taken at domestic and international levels to protect individuals with disabilities. The author suggests the primary focus of the upcoming United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and argues that a disability human rights paradigm be adopted. Such a human rights paradigm would, the author argues, provide disabled individuals with equal opportunity, rather than with merely equal treatment. Finally, this Article illustrates how international practices can facilitate the development of more effective disability legislation and policy.

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