Article 24, UNCRPD is this a Brown v Board of Education moment?, 22nd February 2014

Article 24, UNCRPD is this a Brown v Board of Education moment?
Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway

 In association with  

Institute for Human Rights and Critical Studies (LIHRCS), KU Leuven

Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of most other human rights.  The right to education promotes individual freedom and enables people to exercise other human rights, such as the right to vote or the right to free speech.  Education is a powerful tool, one which can ensure that those who are marginalized in society can lift themselves out of poverty and participate as citizens: a right that should be denied to none, and provided equally to all.  It was stated in the 1954 by the US Supreme Court in the seminal decision of Brown v. Board of Education:

Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.  In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.  Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and other similarly situated are ... deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

This seminal decision outlawed the discriminatory notion of separate but equal, unfortunately this theory was never fully embraced when we consider education for people with disabilities.   In the context of children with disabilities we segregate and separate them from the peers on the basis of their disability.  Thus sixty years after Brown v Board of Education (1954) separate educational provision is still the norm for many children with disabilities throughout Europe.  In 2006 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force. That Convention recognizes the right to education for people with disabilities, and the right it recognizes is the right to inclusive education.  This conference aims to explore the concept of inclusive education, what is meant by inclusive education and what can lawyers do to ensure that the right to inclusive education becomes a reality for all.

The morning of the conference will explore the concept of inclusive education and the afternoon will focus on particular legal tools that could be used to further the right to education for people with Disabilities. 

When:   Main Conference February 22nd 2014
Student Conference February 21st 2014

Where:           Aras Moyola, NUI Galway, Galway Ireland
Please feel free to contact the conference organisers for further information:

Shivaun Quinlivan, NUI Galway:
Gauthier deBeco, KU Leuven:
This conference is sponsored by the Millennium Fund.