Global reasonable accommodation: How the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities changes the way we think about equality

Authors Frédéric Mégret, Dianah Msipa

ISSN: 1996-2126
Affiliations: None; LLM (Law) Alumnus, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada
Source: South African Journal on Human Rights, Volume 30 Issue 2, 2014, p. 252 – 274


This article assesses the potential of the notion of reasonable accommodation as included in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Reasonable accommodation provides a unique case of a domestic concept that has been gradually diffused transnationally, is in the process of being thoroughly internationalised and ought now to be re-domesticated so as to maximise its impact. The record of its domestic implementation so far however is not very promising, at least in countries that do not already have experience with the concept. The article traces some of the conceptual obstacles to implementation of reasonable accommodation including the enduring allure of formal equality, disputes about the meaning of ‘reasonable’ and the related notion of ‘undue burden’, the need to evaluate who the obligation applies to, and how it fits within the immediate/progressive realisation dilemma.