It will be interesting to hear what the United Nations Human Rights Council has to say about the United Nations' decision to deny an Oregon teen his contest prize because of his Autism.

Niko Boskovic, who won an essay contest sponsored by North Portland's Peninsula Odd Fellows lodge, was preparing to join the other winners in the annual United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth when the teen's mother received an email from the UN informing her that the prestigious prize has been withdrawn because of her son's disability.

According to Oregon Live, the UN Pilgrimage for Youth board claimed that chaperones aren't permitted to accompany the contest winners and that the board wasn't comfortable taking responsibility for Niko, who has been unable to speak since early childhood and can only communicate through the use of a letter board.

The UN email came in response to an earlier email sent by the teen's mother informing the Oregon chairman of the Odd Fellows of Niko's autism and his inability to communicate verbally. Charles Cloud, the Odd Fellows chairman, forwarded the message to the UN. Cloud said he was told that the Pilgrimage for Youth staff didn't have the training to handle Niko's disability.

Odd Fellows band together in support of teen

"All of us banded together to challenge the decision," said lodge secretary David Scheer to Oregon Live. "We got nowhere. They refunded our money, and they've refused to talk with us."

Scheer added that his fraternal organization often takes children with disabilities on trips without a problem, and said it was "ridiculous" that the UN is incapable-- or unwilling-- to do the same.

The victim of the UN's discrimination happens to be an advocate for inclusion; in his spare time Niko runs a website devoted to promoting the inclusion of those who are disabled. The 15-year-old's crusade for inclusion even earned him a letter of commendation from President Obama in 2015.

Gordon Magella, a disability rights attorney, said that never in his career has he ever come across such a blatant disregard for the disabled.

"I have worked on some cases where there's a plausible excuse, or a practical reason. But not here," he stated.

As a result of the appalling discrimination, the North Portland's Peninsula Odd Fellows decided that they will no longer participate in the UN Pilgrimage for Youth program, which rewards contest winners with a trip to historically significant locations throughout North America.

Apparently, the autistic are an exception

Ironically, it was the United Nations that adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 in order to protect rights to which "all human beings are inherently entitled" and it is the United Nations Human Rights Council that is responsible for seeing that those rights are not violated. The UNHRC has weighed in on every issue from women's rights to LGBT rights; in 2007 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in front of the General Assembly, “All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action.”

It will be interesting to see how quickly the UN springs into action in order to right the wrong of denying a high school student a prize solely because he happens to be disabled.