On Wednesday the 3rd of February 2021, the European Committee of Social Rights made public its decision concerning the collective complaint of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium (Complaint No. 141/2017). At the end of a more than four-years procedure, the Committee ruled in favour of the claimant organisations and thus condemns Belgium, and more particularly the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, for the lack of efforts made for the educational inclusion of pupils with intellectual disabilities.
Our organisations welcome the conclusions adopted by the Committee, which unambiguously recognises the existence of a violation of the revised version of the European Social Charter for the lack of efforts made by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to promote access to mainstream education for pupils with intellectual disabilities.
The Committee unanimously concludes that there is a:
• violation of Article 15§1 of the Charter on the grounds that the right to inclusive education for children with intellectual disabilities is not effectively guaranteed in the French Community of Belgium ;
• violation of Article 17§2 of the Charter on the grounds that children with an intellectual disability do not enjoy an effective right to inclusive education in the French Community
Origin of the procedure
In 2015, a group of parents from Inclusion ASBL wished to take action to promote inclusive education in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, based on the observation that access to ordinary schooling for their children was extremely complex, if not impossible. Various actions were undertaken. The collective complaint of the 18th of January 2017 against the Belgian State is one of them.
What is Belgium accused of?
We criticise Belgium for not complying with the obligations of the Revised European Social Charter, which Belgium ratified in 2004: according to the claimant associations, Belgium does not do enough to promote the inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities in ordinary primary and secondary schools under the authority of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
Press kit in french concerning the decision of the European Committee of Social Rights concerning the collective complaint International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and Inclusion Europe c. Belgium (Complaint No. 141/2017).
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