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UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Article 24
The UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) provides an internationally recognised standard for disabled people's human rights in one global framework. Those Governments that sign up to and ratify the UNCRPD are required to promote and uphold these standards which safeguard the human rights of ALL disabled people.
Former Minister for Disabled People Anne McGuire signing the UNCRPD on behalf of the UK Government in 2007
Article 24: A Right to Inclusive Education guarantees all disabled learners a right to participate in all forms of mainstream education with appropriate support. When the UK Government ratified this UNCRPD in June 2009 it decided to place a number of restrictions on its UNCRPD obligations. Two of those restrictions relate to Article 24. The first was an Interpretative Declaration which clarifies the UK Government definition of a ‘general education system’. The Interpretative Declaration text states that:
“Education – Convention Article 24 Clause 2 (a) and (b)
The United Kingdom Government is committed to continuing to develop an inclusive system where parents of disabled children have increasing access to mainstream schools and staff, which have the capacity to meet the needs of disabled children. The General Education System in the United Kingdom includes mainstream, and special schools, which the UK Government understands is allowed under the Convention.”
The UK Government also placed a Reservation against Article 24 which states that:
Education – Convention Article 24 Clause 2 (a) and 2 (b)
The United Kingdom reserves the right for disabled children to be educated outside their local community where more appropriate education provision is available elsewhere. Nevertheless, parents of disabled children have the same opportunity as other parents to state a preference for the school at which they wish their child to be educated.
ALLFIE participated in the elaboration discussions in New York and worked in partnership with other UK DPOs to secure a commitment to inclusive education in Article 24 for all disabled learners. Since then more than 100 countries have signed and ratified the UN Convention in full.
The UK is still the ONLY country to place restrictions against Article 24 which ALLFIE believes is unacceptable and getting these restrictions removed is a key element of our ongoing campaign work
ALLFIE is now working to put pressure on Government to fully implement Article 24 as written in the Convention and fulfil its obligation to support and develop the capacity of all mainstream education providers to become inclusive of all disabled learners.
ALLFIE will also be responsible for drafting the education sections of the civil society shadow report which will be submitted to the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee in early 2012.
The UK Government’s progress on implementation of the UNCRPD will be scrutinising by the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee in early 2013. In preparation for this the UK Government has submitted a progress report. ALLFIE has seen sight of this report and there is absolutely no reference to any work the Government is doing to promote inclusive education. The UNCRPD scrutiny process allows NGOs from the UK to also submit reports about how UNCPRD implementation is progressing. This gives ALLFIE a great opportunity!
ALLFIE is now working with other national DPOs on the drafting of the NGO Shadow report which is due to be submitted to the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee in early 2013. The ALLFIE has been asked to draft the text in relation to Article 24 on Inclusive Education and Article 7 on disabled children and young people.
We want to hear from you what your experience of education has been here in the UK, what you think made your experience more difficult or what you think made your experience better or could have made your experience of education.
Further information can be found in the following Allfie Briefings: