Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter July 2019


  • Cases and Court Decisions
  • Participate!
  • Resources
  • News
  • Announcements

Cases and Court Decisions

_ The right to inclusive education _

European Court of Human Rights fails to protect the right to education
The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Stefan Stoian, a young man with quadriplegia, who took a case against Romania for denial of his right to education. Stefan Stoian was refused the support he needed to participate in mainstream schools. After several years of legal action, the case was brought to the ECHR where it was supported by third party interventions. However, the judgment was delegated to a Committee of the Court which did not find any human rights violations. (See the article by Steven Allen here.) The European Disability Forum and other organizations in a joint letter  urge the ECHR to comply with international human rights laws.

European Court of Human Rights: an  autistic child is not entitled to attend regular school

A French woman wanted to enforce in court the right of her autistic child to attend regular school. But the judges in Strasbourg rejected the complaint as unfounded. Read the article here.

USA: court decision in favor of inclusive education
A Federal Appeals Court ruled against a school that referred a student with a cognitive disability to another school because of his disability. Find the full article here.

Belgium: exclusion from school is discrimination
A Belgian school that had asked a boy with Down’s Syndrome to leave the school was convicted of discrimination. Here you find an article about the case.


Belgium: Systematic school segregation violates the rights of children with mental disabilities
In a decision on a complaint under the Revised European Social Charter, the European Committee on Social Rights found that the denial of mainstream education to children with mental disabilities and the preservation of a separate special school system breaches the rights to social protection and inclusion in the community.  Read the full article here.

USA: Settlement after a student left in basement
Several settlements totaling more than $1 million have been reached in the case of a 16-year-old student with disabilities who was allegedly removed from his school, placed in a church basement and told to watch DVDs and sort nuts and bolts. Read the full article here.

_ Accessibility _

France: Court of Appeals in Toulouse ruled against the national railway company
The French National Railway Company (SNCF) was fined to pay compensation to adisabled man because of inaccessible toilets in the train. See article in French and  German.

Canada: Personal assistants fly for free

In a ruling by the Quebec Superior Court of Justice, Air Canada was found to have discriminated against travelers with disabilities by requiring them to purchase tickets for their personal assistants. Read the full article here.


_ The right to live independently _

Uganda: psychiatric hospital violates the rights of residents
The government of Uganda was taken to court by the Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) together with a  former resident for violations of the rights of patients with mental illnesses. The psychiatric hospital Butabika in Uganda locks up persons with bi-polar conditions for periods of over 24 hours in isolation cells without food, windows or access to toilets. The claimants lost at the first court level but appealed. Read the full article here.

Finland: Appeal to the CRPD Committee

A person with an intellectual disability was denied the right to personal assistance in his home. Various appeals by the claimant were turned down, and the case was closed within the Finnish legal system. Now, it has been submitted for consideration by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to establish whether the resource criteria pertaining to personal assistance is in compliance with the UN-CRPD. Read the press release here.



Survey: Human Rights Defenders Indicators Framework
This survey is designed to provide an insight into the main challenges faced by human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world, and bridge the knowledge and communication gap between HRDs and the different actors that provide support and protection to HRDs and CSOs. You can participate by filling out this survey.

Legal Empowerment Leadership Course (LELC) in Budapest
The aim of the course is to cultivate a global cadre of leaders who are committed to legal empowerment, and who share a common understanding of the field, including history, methodology, and evidence. Date: Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 5:00 pm to Friday, December 6, 2019 - 6:00 pm at the Central European University in Budapest. Apply here before 8 of August and find more information about the course here.


Handbook and country sheets on applying the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a handbook about the use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights at the national level. Member States have an explicit duty to promote the Charter’s implementation. Therefore, FRA also published country sheets which support that effort by giving examples of the Charter’s use and highlighting how it adds value.

Why, When, and How You Should File an Americans with Disabilities Act  Lawsuit
Sylvia Longmire writes in her blog “Spinning her wheels” about why, when, and how one should file an ADA lawsuit. While mainly applicable to the US, the blog may also be of interest to residents of other countries.  Read the blog article here.

Compendium: Mainstreaming Disability Rights in the European Pillar of Social Rights

A useful resource on disability rights by the Academic Network of European Disability Experts is “Mainstreaming Disability Rights in the European Pillar of Social Rights – a compendium. Download the report here.


Complaints made to the CRPD Committee
While searching for complaints to the CRPD Committee, you may want to use this list from the CRPD Committee or this database from the High Commissioner, which provides access to jurisprudence from the United Nations Treaty Bodies. Furthermore, there is a list of the CRPD Committee's views on individual communications under the Optional Protocol from the International Disability Alliance.


Israel: ”Institution WATCH”: Training for inspectors

Despite Article 19 of the CRPD, institutions for disabled people are still a reality in many countries with reported incidents of abuse and neglect. As long as there are institutions, they must be inspected and controlled. Where the state fails to inspect and control institutions, civil society has to step in. Bizchut, an Israeli organization defending the rights of persons with disabilities, exposes and takes action to correct violations of rights in institutions. Check out their program “Institution WATCH” here.



Conference on Access to Court for Disabled people - Nordic Perspectives

The law firm “Lakitoimisto Kumpuvuori Oy” organizes an international conference on access to court for disabled persons in nordic perspectives on May 25, 2020, in Turku, Finland. More information coming soon here.


Job opportunity: Expert Technical Advisers – Social inclusion and disability 

Sightsavers is looking for committed and dynamic individuals to join their social inclusion team who can provide technical and strategic programmatic advice on disability inclusion. Find the job offer here.



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