Right to Education
Specific Instruments
  General Instruments
  Selected Case Law
  Case Law Websites
  Human Rigths Actors
Free and compulsory education for all children is the fundamental requirement of the right to education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines the right and makes specific provisions for minority, indigenous, and disabled children, and has been ratified by most states. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education has stated that in order to implement (respect, protect, and fulfil) this right, states must provide for the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and adaptability of primary schools. (U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1999/49) Challenges include: in some countries children of primary school-age may be working, married or in prison rather than at school; the non-registration of many children at birth, which leads to unreliable statistics on school attendance; and the complex problem of the equal right to education for girls. Finally, corollary to the state obligation to make primary education compulsory is the duty of the child to attend school.
Specific Instruments
Convention against Discrimination in Education
Date of adoption: 15/12/1960 Entry into force: 22/5/1962
System of protection: Universal
Protocol Instituting a Conciliation and Good Offices Commission to be responsible for Seeking a Settlement of any Disputes which may arise between States Parties to the Convention against Discrimination in Education
Date of adoption: 18/12/1962 Entry into force: 24/10/1968
System of protection: Universal
Recommendation Concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education Relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Date of adoption: 19/11/1974 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Date of adoption: 11/7/1990 Entry into force: 29/11/1999
System of protection: Organization of African Unity
Protocol N°1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Date of adoption: 20/3/1952 Entry into force: 18/5/1954
System of protection: Council of Europe
Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: "Protocol of San Salvador"
Date of adoption: 17/11/1988 Entry into force: 16/11/1999
System of protection: Organization of American States
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Date of adoption: 20/11/1989 Entry into force: 2/9/1990
System of protection: Universal
General Instruments
The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
Date of adoption: 5/8/1990 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Organization of the Islamic Conference
Proclamation of Teheran
Date of adoption: 13/5/1968 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
European Social Charter
Date of adoption: 18/10/1961 Entry into force: 26/2/1965
System of protection: Council of Europe
European Social Charter (revised)
Date of adoption: 3/5/1996 Entry into force: 1/7/1999
System of protection: Council of Europe
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Date of adoption: 16/12/1966 Entry into force: 23/3/1976
System of protection: Universal
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Date of adoption: 7/12/2000 Entry into force: -
System of protection: European Union
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Date of adoption: 16/12/1966 Entry into force: 3/1/1976
System of protection: Universal
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Date of adoption: 10/12/1948 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man
Date of adoption: 2/5/1948 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Organization of American States
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Banjul Charter)
Date of adoption: 27/6/1981 Entry into force: 21/10/1986
System of protection: Organization of African Unity
Examen de jurisprudence (1995-2000) Chapitre 6
Pierre-François DOCQUIR - Rusen ERGEC
Latest update: 28/10/2002 First published: 1/5/2002
Reference: R.C.J.B., 2002/1, pp. 85-229
The article reviews the whole of ECHR case law, from 1 January 1995 until 31 December 2000, highlighting the major threads and evolutions during this period.
Languages: English
References to hundreds of reports, recent news and upcoming events, details of organisations working worldwide for children, NGO reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and child rights issues. Email Listserve also available.
Languages: English
Primers, Special Rapporteurs' Reports, and information on the legal status (country by country) of the right to education - Publications - Good links to IGOs, NGOs and research resources on the subject.
Languages: English French Spanish
International and country-level activities and regional programmes of this oldest IGO in the field of education, now part of UNESCO. Its Databanks offer 78 country dossiers and web resources on different educational systems.
Languages: English French
Website of the EFA movement - Much info about EFA and the Dakar Framework of Action - Assessments - Upcoming events - Reference materials.
Selected Case Law
Free Legal Assistance Group, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Union Interafricaine des Droits de l'Homme, Les Témoins de Jehovah v. Zaire
Date: 10/1995
Decision-making body: African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Legal reference: Communications Nos. 25/89, 47/90, 56/91, 100/93 (Joined), in Annex on Communications to the Ninth Annual Activity Report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, 1995-1996 (ACHPR/RPT/9th), AHG/207 (XXXII).
Economic, social and cultural rights - Zaire violates right to health (Art. 16, by failing to provide basic services) and right to education (Art. 17) - "Serious and massive violations" - Violation of Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16 and 17.
Efstratiou v. Greece
Date: 18/12/1996
Decision-making body: European Court of Human Rights
Legal reference: ECHR, 18 December 1996, Recueil 1996-VI. n° 77/1996/696/888.
Jehovah's Witnesses - Child refusing to participate in the national holiday ceremony - 2 days' suspension from school - No violation of Article 1 of Protocol 2, Articles 9 and 3 - Absence of effective remedy: violation of Article 13.
"Belgian Linguistics Case": Case "relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of languages in education in Belgium"
Date: 23/7/1968
Decision-making body: European Court of Human Rights
Legal reference: ECHR, 23 July 1968, Series A, no. 6
Autonomy of Article 14 ECHR - A measure that conforms to Article 2-P1 (right to education) violates this Article combined with Art. 14 if it is discriminatory - Discrimination - Lawfulness, legitimate goal and proportionality.
Erkki Hartikainen v. Finland
Date: 9/4/1981
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/12/D/40/1978
Mandatory course focusing on the history of religion and ethics - Freedom of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions - No violation of Article 18(4).
Case Law Websites
Council of Europe - Human Rights Web
Languages: English French
Search the case-law of the European Convention on Human Rights control bodies.
Repertorio de Jurisprudencia del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos
Languages: Spanish
Directory of the case law of the Inter-American Court 1980 - 1997.
For the Record 2001: The United Nations Human Rights System
Human Rights Internet Date: 2001
Reference: Human Rights Internet, 2001
Source: Human Rights Internet
FTR is an electronic annual report that provides summaries of relevant human rights information generated within the UN system. An important reference tool for those active in national and international social justice movements, the report also aids in simplifying the human rights work of the UN for the uninitiated, members of national legislative assemblies, journalists, students, teachers and the general public. Produced with the support of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade since 1997, the report is organized thematically as well as by country and covers all relevant UN documentation over a full calendar year. These include: State reports prepared for the six human rights treaty bodies and the concluding observations of the experts who review those reports; documentation, resolutions and decisions by various UN system bodies.
The right to education in the context of cultural rights
Patrice Meyer-Bisch Date: 1998
Reference: E/C.12/1998/17
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The right to education in the context of cultural rights - Characteristics of the right to education - Its intangible nucleus - The economic logic behind this right and the compilation of indicators - Proposals.
Jurisprudence de la Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme
Vincent BERGER
Reference: Paris, Dalloz, 2000
Languages: French
Analytical summaries of the most important decisions rendered by the European Court of Human Rights since its creation in 1959. This book does not contain commentaries on the of the soundness of the decisions or the Court's reasoning.
Droits de l'homme et libertés fondamentales
Jacques ROBERT
Reference: Paris, Montchrestien, 1996
Languages: French
Public liberties and legal systems: 1) in the declarations of rights; 2) procedures of recognition of liberties ; 3) ways of protection. Liberties recognised under modern French law.
Human Rights and the European Community - The Substantive Law
Reference: Baden Baden, European Union -The Human Rights Challenge Vol III, Nomos, 1991
Languages: English French
Part III of a reserch project undertaken by international scholars and commanded by the EC. This part contains reports on such issues as environmental rights, consumer rights, womens rights, freedom of information and educational and cultural rights.
Droits sociaux et droit européen : bilan et prospective de la protection normative
J.-F. Flauss Ed. - Jean-François FLAUSS
Reference: Bruxelles, Droit & Justice, Bruylant, 2002
Languages: French
In the Council of Europe and in the European Union, social rights are the object of a growing protection, both in quality and quantity. Questions raised : problems of coexistence and reciprocal influences - unicity of the standards of protection
Revue trimestrielle des droits de l'homme
Reference: Bruxelles, Nemesis
Contact: vf@lambert.be http://www.revtrdrh.be
Languages: French
Specialized periodical. Articles on doctrine - Commentaries on the decisions of various courts - Extracts of new decisions - Bibliographies - News: conferences... Special issues.
Human Rights Actors
Aide Médicale Internationale à l'Enfance (AMIE)
http://www.amie.ca/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Founded in 1969, AMIE is an organization working for the welfare of children worldwide.
Canadian Feed the Children ()
http://www.canadianfeedthechildren.ca/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Organization for the healthy development of children.
Collaboration Santé Internationale (CSI)
http://www.csiquebec.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
NGO supporting education and health.
Comité des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (CESCR)
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/cescr.htm Type:United Nations System
Treaty body created in 1985 by the ECOSOC (not by the ICESCR itself). Convenes twice a year to monitor the implementation of the Covenant by States parties, assist them in fulfilling their obligations. Writes General Comments on Covenant rights.
Education International (EI)
http://www.ei-ie.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
A world-wide trade union organisation seeking to promote for all peoples in all nations peace, democracy, social justice and equality through the development of quality public education for all.
Elimu ()
http://http://www.elimu.org/ Type:Network
A network of independent citizens' groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are campaigning to ensure that all people have access to free, compulsory education of quality.
Enfance et développement à Madagascar (AMADEA)
http://www.amadea.org Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
NGO for the childhood, rural development and environmental protection in Madagascar.
Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
http://www.campaignforeducation.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Promotes education as a basic human right, and mobilizes public pressure on governments and the International Community to fulfill their promises to provide free, compulsory public basic education for all people.
International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (U.S. National Academy of Sciences) ()
http://www4.nas.edu/oia/oiahome.nsf/web/network?Op Type:Network
Assists scientists and scholars around the world who are subjected to severe repression solely for having nonviolently exercised their rights. Promotes human rights consciousness-raising and institutional commitment to human rights work worldwide.
Organisation internationale pour le Développement de la Liberté d'Enseignement (OIDEL)
http://www.oidel.ch/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
"The Right to Education and Freedom of Education" - NGO with UN consultative status aiming to promote the right to education as a fundamental human right.
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the right to education ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/b/medu.htm Type:United Nations System
Mandate established in 1998, by resolution 1998/33 of 17 April 1998.
Teachers Without Borders ()
http://www.teacherswithoutborders.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
An organization comprised of teachers working to "close the education divide" mainly through teacher training.
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues ()
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/pfii Type:United Nations System
Advisory body to UN Economic and Social Council- Indigenous issues concerning economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights- Established in July 2000.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
http://www.unesco.org Type:United Nations System
The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law and HR.
University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR)
http://www.uichr.org/ Type:Research / Education
Cross-disciplinary activities designed to consider the problems and prospects of human rights in the US and abroad, with particular attention given to economic, social, and cultural rights.