Decision T-974/10. Writ for the protection of constitutional rights. Piedad Cristina Peña, on behalf of her daughter, María Alejandra Villa, vs. Entidad Promotora de Salud (EPS) Coomeva. File T-2.500.563
Writ for protection of constitutional rights of a minor with intellectual disabilities, against the state health agency (EPS), requesting integrated treatment through an institution specialized in cognitive disabilities; Right to health; right to education; inclusive education; right to equality and non-discrimination; treatment of individuals under special constitutional protection; children's rights.
The mother of an intellectually disabled girl initiated a tutela action because her daughter had been diagnosed with cognitive deficit and microcephaly, and she could not afford the recommended integrated program of therapy and special education. The Constitutional Court accepted to review the case and ordered EPS Coomeva to coordinate with local education agencies to obtain a comprehensive medical assessment of the minor, as well as to determine the medical and educational services required for her disability. In its decision, the Court made reference to Colombia's obligations under article 12 of the ICESCR and article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), requiring the State ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from educational opportunities on the basis of disability as well as the obligation to ensure reasonable accommodation based on each individual's requirements.
Therefore, in the case of a person with intellectual disabilities, state obligations related to health and education must be analyzed interdependently to ensure dignity and equality. The Court concluded that there were gaps in the cooperation between health and education agencies as regards protection of persons with disabilities; it also reiterated that that socially inclusive education must be prioritize over specialized education and that the existence of specialized educational institutions should not be an excuse to deny access to comprehensive medical treatment for children with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, the Court ordered the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Protection to create an open dialogue, including participation of civil society organizations, in order to define their areas of work and adequate mechanisms to respond to the needs of the population with disabilities.
Keywords: Decision T-974/10. Writ for the protection of constitutional rights. Piedad Cristina Peña, on behalf of her daughter, María Alejandra Villa, vs. Entidad Promotora de Salud (EPS) Coomeva. File T-2.500.563, Poverty
On February 4, 2011 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.
Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social (PAIIS) of the Law School at Universidad de los Andes.
In this case the Constitutional Court resorted to international human rights law instruments to highlight the interrelationship between the rights to health and to education in order to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and to guarantee their effective enforcement across different scopes of protection. The Court acknowledged that in the case of cognitive disabilities effective measures should be implemented both in the health and education areas so as to adequately meet the needs of persons with disabilities.