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General Comment No. 4 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 24: Right to inclusive education (2016)

United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities International Human Rights Instruments and Resources General Comments of UN Treaties United Nations 25 November 2016 Policy document CRPD/C/GC/4 CRPD, human rights

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Historically viewed as welfare recipients, persons with disabilities are now recognized under international law as rights holders with a claim to the right to education without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunities. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the World Declaration on Education for All (1990), the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993) and the Salamanca statement and framework for action (1994) all include measures testifying to the growing awareness and understanding of the right of persons with disabilities to education.

Recognition of inclusion as the key to achieving the right to education has strengthened over the past 30 years and is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first legally binding instrument to contain a reference to the concept of quality inclusive education. Sustainable Development Goal 4 too affirms the value of inclusive, quality and equitable education. Inclusive education is central to achieving high-quality education for all learners, including those with disabilities, and for the development of inclusive, peaceful and fair societies. Furthermore, there is a powerful educational, social and economic case to be made. As reflected in the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the thematic study on the right of persons with disabilities to education, only inclusive education can provide both quality education and social development for persons with disabilities, and a guarantee of universality and non-discrimination in the right to education.

Despite the progress achieved, however, the Committee is concerned that profound challenges persist. Many millions of persons with disabilities continue to be denied the right to education and for many more education is available only in settings where persons with disabilities are isolated from their peers and where the education they receive is of an inferior quality.


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