Proposed Special Education Needs Centres Not Mainstream, Not Inclusive and Not Rights Compliant

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has today responded with immediate concern about plans announced by the Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, to accommodate children with autism and other disabilities in the Dublin area in “Special Educational Needs” centres from September.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s independent National Human Rights Institution and National Equality Body, and is the designated independent monitor of Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD.)

These young people have a right to education and for that education to be an appropriate education, which meets their needs. Under Article 24 of the UN CRPD the State holds an obligation to ensure that  “Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;”

The Commission has questioned the lack of clarity in respect of this proposal, and renews its consistent calls for an explicit human rights and equality-based approach to be taken to ensuring mainstream educational provision which is fully inclusive of people with disabilities.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“For this kind of announcement to be made suddenly by the Minister of State, seemingly without the participation of disabled people or prior consultation with their representatives is fundamentally at odds with the word and the spirit of the UN Convention.

“The State has a record of temporary measures becoming embedded in long term delivery. The severe shortage of school places for these students is not new and not only Dublin specific.

“The State cannot just roll back the rights of these children to an inclusive education for the sake of convenience, particularly for children who rely on consistency and routine to anchor their educational needs.”

ENDS/

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,

087-4687760 / sarah.clarkin@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note:

The Irish Government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. In March 2018 they ratified the Convention as the last EU Member State to do so.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission,

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

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