An Education in Sign Language as a Human Right? The Sensory Exception in the Legislative History and Ongoing Interpretation of Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Maartje De Meulder, Joseph J. Murray , Delphine le Maire

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Abstract

A key provision of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for deaf people was the inclusion of articles that would allow deaf children to be educated in sign language settings with access to peers who use sign language and teachers who were fluent in sign language. The legislative history shows governments saw a “sensory exception” for deaf, blind, and deafblind learners as an uncontroversial exception to the principle of full inclusion in the education of children with disabilities. However, non-state actors have not fully acknowledged this provision in post-ratification interpretations of Article 24. Any interpretation of Article 24 must take into account this background of respect for the different needs of deaf, deafblind, and blind students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-60
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • deaf
  • CRPD
  • inclusion
  • sign language

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