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Autisme-Europe v France - European Committee of Social Rights Complaint No. 13/2002 (7 November 2003)

Keywords: Accessibility, adaptability, progressive right, disability discrimination, progressive realisation, European Social Charter, European Committee of Social Rights, regional level

It was alleged that the French Government had made insufficient educational provision for autistic persons, violating several provisions of the European Social Charter, specifically not taking the necessary measures to provide such persons with education (Article 15(1); violating the obligation to secure the right to education of all children and young persons (Article 17(1); and the non-discrimination principle in the enjoyment of Charter rights (Article E).

The Committee decided that States Parties are obliged to take both legal and practical action to give full effect to Charter rights.  When the achievement of a right is exceptionally complex and particularly expensive to resolve, State Parties must take measures to do so “within a reasonable time with measurable progress and to an extent consistent with the maximum use of available resources.”

The Committee found that the numbers of autistic children being educated in either general or specialist schools were disproportionately low in comparison to other children, and that there was a chronic shortage of care and support facilities for autistic adults.  This constituted a violation of Articles 15(1) and 17(1), whether read alone or in conjunction with Article E.

See also the cases on discrimination both on the basis of nationality and race.