ESR Project Title: Collective Political Voice: Persons with Disabilities in the Political Process
Adriana Caballero-Pérez is a lawyer from Colombia. She holds a Masters in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia) and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Lund University in Sweden.
Adriana has professional experience in the legal and humanitarian assistance of vulnerable populations and communities. She has been a member of organizations combining evidence-based human rights research with direct engagement with both persons with disabilities and victims of armed conflicts.
Adriana worked in several NGOs in her country promoting the citizen participation of children and young people with disabilities, both of whom were also victims of forced displacement. Adriana believes in the meaningful participation of children and youth as a strategic priority to ensure democratic societies.
In Colombia, she also worked for seven years at the human rights institution, the Ombudsman’s Office. She was engaged with the development of human rights research strategies and legal advocacy to bring about positive changes for persons with disabilities.
From 2018 to July 2019, Adriana was an intern in the Inclusive Societies Team at Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) in Lund. At RWI, Adriana worked with Dr Anna Bruce and Dr Gerard Quinn. One of the most rewarding experiences for her at RWI was participating in reviewing case law from the Inter-American System on Human Rights. She took part in writing an amicus curiae brief to the European Committee of Social Rights regarding the collective complaint No. 168, submitted by the European Disability Forum and Inclusion Europe.
Currently, Adriana is a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Law at Maastricht University (MU). As an Early-Stage Researcher, she is working on the DARE (Disability Advocacy Research in Europe) project, which is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. MU Professor Lisa Waddington leads the academic supervisory team of this project, which also includes MU Professor Marcus Meyer as co-supervisor, Professor Mark Priestly from Leeds University and Ms Virginia Atkinson as non-academic supervisor, from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
As a member of DARE’s project, Adriana is investigating the right to vote of persons’ with disabilities, as one of the rights and freedoms inherent to political participation. Specifically, Adriana’s dissertation aims to provide an empirically grounded theoretical account of the availability and use of electoral-assistive tools by persons with disabilities when casting ballots. Additionally, it evaluates the significance of these tools for the implementation of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Adriana’s research employs legal analysis and empirical research methods from the social sciences to shed light on issues concerning the use of electoral-assistive tools, as a right under the CRPD, and other international legal instruments. It also explores how this right works in practice, namely, in the voting experiences of persons with disabilities.
Adriana’s study will provide recommendations for potential legal reforms and public policy actions to ensure the right to vote is exercised for persons with disabilities. Although the focus of her doctoral dissertation is on two specific, European jurisdictions (Spain and the United Kingdom), the questions raised are pertinent to promoting changes within electoral, legal and social contexts around the globe.
In her free time, Adriana enjoys travelling with her family, running and playing the French game, petanque. Her favourite authors include Laura Restrepo and Kazuo Ishiguro.