A disabled child from Leon has been discriminated against by the Spanish authorities, a UN human rights committee has concluded.

Because of his Down’s syndrome, Ruben was sent to a special education centre against his parents’ wishes. 

The case was brought to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2017, who have now called on Spain to end any educational segregation of students with disabilities in specialist or mainstream schools. 

“It does not appear that the State party’s authorities have carried out a thorough assessment or an in-depth, detailed study of his educational needs and the reasonable accommodations that he would have required to be able to continue attending a mainstream school,” said a member of the committee to the press.

Spanish authorities, in turn, have brought forward criminal charges against Ruben’s parents for refusing to send him to a specialised school.

It has also been alleged that Ruben was abused by his teacher. 

Ruben had a good relationship with his classmates and teachers at his mainstream school, according to the UN human rights office. 

But, when he started grade four in 2009, the previously positive situation deteriorated and allegations of abuse emerged. 

Ruben’s school report then noted ‘psychotic outbreaks’, ‘disruptive behaviour’, and ‘developmental delay associated with Down syndrome’. 

In 2011, Ruben was placed in a special education centre and despite his parents’ complaints no investigation was conducted until the UN intervened.

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