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Decision of T-051/11 Julio David Perez v. Mayor’s Office of Monteria. File T-2650185

Year: 2011 (Date of Decision: 4 February, 2011)

Forum, CountryConstitutional Court; Colombia

Standards, RightsNon-discrimination and equal protection of the law; Right to education; Persons with disabilities

Summary BackgroundIssue at stake in this case: whether the right to education was violated by denial of availability of a sign interpreter in College due to less than ten hearing impaired students in class. The complainant was a student with hearing disabilities who was adversely affected by the aforementioned denial.

Holding: Referencing elements of the UN and regional human rights law framework (including General Comment 5 by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Inter-American Convention of Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Person with Disabilitiesarticle

1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community. 2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child’s condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child. 3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child’s achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development. 4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international cooperation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
 of the Convention on the Right of the Child) [para. IV. 4.2.] as well as articles of the Colombian Constitution [para. IV. 4.1.] and national case law [para. IV. 4.4.], the Constitutional Court held that the complainant’s right to education had been violated.

In addition, the Court concluded that the law that decreed appointing sign language interpreters only in the case of minimum enrolment of hearing-impaired students was unconstitutional, as the mandated requirements were discriminatory and served to deepen the stigmatization and exclusion of students with hearing disabilities [para. V].

The Court required Monteria to make appropriate amendments to the budgets, planning, curricula and organization of its educational institutions to effectively realize the right to education for people with hearing disabilities [para. V]

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