Human Rights Failure in an Australian School

Date: Thu 9th April 2015

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (“ALHR”) are horrified by the report of a 10-year-old-boy with autism being restrained in a 2 metre by 2 metre, cage-like structure in a school room at a Canberra school.

The restraint of the child breaches article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“UNCRPD”) which protects people with disabilities, including children, from torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.  Article 24 of the UNCRPD requires that reasonable accommodations of the individual’s requirements be provided in education. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations to this 10 year old child to support his behaviour in the classroom offends article 24.

Further, article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (“UNCRC”) prohibits the physical or mental violence, abuse and negligent treatment of children.  ALHR stresses that confining a child behind pool fencing in a classroom against their will may breach article 19 of the UNCRC.

The right to an inclusive education, free from abuse and harm is fundamental for children with disabilities in Australia.  This incident demonstrates a clear breach of the international human rights obligations pursuant to the UNCRPD and UNCRC.  ALHR welcomes the independent inquiry into this incident announced by the ACT Education and Training Directorate.

Media Contact:   Nathan Kennedy, President ALHR

M: 0417 267 143 E: