Title: Building a Foundation for Social Justice. Image Jay Ruderman speaks at the Ruderman Inclusion Summit.

Teen is Stripped of Visit to UN for Having Autism — Ruderman Family Foundation Calls for Action

Ruderman Family Foundation calls on the United Nations to step in and re-invite 15-year-old Niko Boskovic on tour after UN Educational Pilgrimage for Youth excludes him due to disability

The Ruderman Family Foundation, calls on the United Nations to intervene after the UN’s Educational Pilgrimage for Youth, Inc. (UNEPY) Board of Directors’ decided to exclude 15-year-old Niko Boskovic from their annual UNEPY event this summer, allegedly because of his autism.

Boskovic had won an essay contest that had earned him the trip and was, according to reports, rejected after the program’s board of directors learned of his disability, stating, “They don’t have the staff and knowledge to be accountable for someone with a disability.”

“For an organization focused on human rights it is nothing short of disgraceful to be discriminating against Boskovic due to his disability and denying him his civil right to be included and accommodated,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We call on the United Nations to condemn this decision by UNEPY. We also call on UNEPY to issue an apology to Boskovic as well as to re-issue an invitation to participate in the event with his peers who have equally and fairly earned their spots as delegates, just as Boskovic has.”

Based on reports, Boskovic, who lost his ability to speak and was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, was set to join 300 other winners for the annual UNEPY trip this summer, which brings together teens to visit areas of the US and Canada to teach them about the United Nations.

Again, based on reports, when Niko’s mother, Loreta, emailed the organization to tell them she would be accompanying Niko because of his disability, she was surprised to receive an e-mail back stating that chaperones were not allowed and the group was unequipped to take on the responsibility for Niko.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the UN intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, aiming to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. The Foundation calls on the UN to uphold its values in this case and take a stand for Boskovic.Ruderman Family Foundation

Mission: The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.

Guided by our Jewish values, we support effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy in our core areas of interest: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society; strengthening the sense of commitment and responsibility towards the American Jewish community among Israeli leadership; and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.