Decision T-051/11. Writ for the protection of constitutional rights. Julio David Pérez vs. Mayor's Office of Montería. File T-2650185

Writ for protection of constitutional rights against the Mayor's Office of Montería requesting the appointment of a sign language interpreter to enable students with hearing disabilities to continue their studies; Right to education; right to equality and non-discrimination; obligation to provide an inclusive educational system.

Date of the Ruling: 
Feb 4 2011
Colombian Constitutional Court
Type of Forum: 

Complainant is hearing impaired and had completed the first semester in the Primary School Teacher's College at Montería, but was not able to continue on past the first year because based on the applicable law (paragraph 3, Art 9 of Decree 366/2009) established that a minimum presence of 10 students with hearing disabilities was necessary to require sign language interpreters in educational institutions. Citing, article 23 of the Convention on the Right of the Child, General Comment 5 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Inter-American Convention of Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Person with Disabilities, the Protocol of San Salvador as well as articles of the Colombian Constitution and national case law, the Constitutional Court concluded that his right to education had been violated and granted protection to the fundamental right to inclusive education. Furthermore, the Court found that the decree which conditioned appointment of sign language interpreters on a minimum enrollment of hearing-impaired students, was unconstitutional, arguing that such requirement deepens the marginalization and exclusion of students with hearing disabilities. The Court further ordered the Mayor's Office of Montería to make the necessary corrections in the budgets, planning, curricula and organization of its educational institutions so as to effectively provide access to the right to education to the population with hearing disabilities.

Keywords: Decision T-051/11. Writ for the protection of constitutional rights. Julio David Pérez vs. Mayor's Office of Montería. File T-2650185, Education, Rights

Enforcement of the Decision and Outcomes: 

The Constitutional Court issued decision T-051 to confirm the terms of decision T-974 regarding the state's obligations related to inclusive education. Since this decision, Colombia became the 100th State to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 10 May 2011.   The decision was communicated to organizations and centers working with ESCR and to the civil society organizations focusing on disability rights involved in the case following a request by the Constitutional Court. The decision will be used by them moving forward in their litigation and political advocacy efforts. An update on enforcement will be added when available.

Significance of the Case: 

This case led to a review of public policy regarding inclusive education in Colombia. The Court found that the applicable regulations included requirements that, when implemented, had a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities. Therefore, the Court ordered public authorities to adopt general measures aimed at correcting policies and designing effective mechanisms to ensure inclusive education for students with disabilities.