The Right to Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities Under International Human Rights Law
Forthcoming in The Right to Inclusive Education Under International Human Rights Law (Cambridge U Press, 2017)
Posted: 19 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 16, 2017
Millions of children with disabilities throughout the world today are denied their basic right to education. Some students are denied access to education due to explicit laws and policies of exclusion or segregation. Others are denied access to quality education due to the lack of accessible transportation or accessible school buildings, classrooms or learning materials. In addition, of those students with disabilities who do attend school, many are subjected to inferior education, often without accommodations and supports, and taught by teachers who are either untrained or unwilling to include students with disabilities in their classrooms. Yet without access to quality education, children and adults with disabilities will remain on the margins of society, unable to fully participate in society. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 24 of the CRPD recognizes the right of all children and adults with disabilities to education on an equal basis with those students without disabilities. In this chapter, I explore the history of the development of the right to education under international law, beginning with a discussion of the barriers to accessing quality education by students with disabilities, followed by an overview of the development of the right to education, and inclusive education, in particular, both prior to and as a result of Article 24 of the CRPD. This chapter also discusses the drafting process that lead to the final version of Article 24 of the CRPD, based in large part on the author’s own observations of the UN drafting committee’s negotiation process. Following the discussion of the background of the CRPD, the chapter discusses General Comment No 4, adopted by the CRPD Committee in 2016, which provides a comprehensive analysis of Article 24. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges that remain in implementing Article 24’s goal of inclusive education for all children, youth and adults with disabilities throughout the world.
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