The Strategic Litigation Working Group (SLWG) has launched a discussion paper with eight key proposals regarding the follow-up on views issued by United Nations human rights treaty bodies (UNTBs). ESCR-Net’s SLWG recognises the significance of decisions issued by UNTBs under the complaints procedures (Views) in the advancement of human rights enjoyment by people around the world, and welcomes the past action and willingness of the UNTBs to continue developing constructive practices regarding the impact and implementation of such Views.

Three principles underpin the SLWG’s proposals: the principle of non-repetition (consistently applied by the HRC in its views and by the CESCR in its General Comments); the principle of reasonableness (developed by the CESCR through its General Comments and 2007 Statement on Maximum Availability of Resources, and made explicit in the OP-ICESCR); and the principle of participation (recognised under a number of UN human rights treaties). Taking into account the practice of different international and regional human rights bodies, the SLWG proposes that the three principles should be applied during the consideration of a case, follow up and implementation, in order to maximise the effectiveness of human rights remedies.

While many authorities can tolerate some traditional campaigning methods, it is usually harder to ignore the law. As part of broader campaigns, the law can be a powerful tool for achieving the changes that children need. Legal advocacy is now being used systematically in a few countries – leading to strong outcomes for children – and it has great potential for wider use.

There are many occasions for legal advocacy. International law sets out the principles and standards that states are obliged to meet but frequently do not, and so their domestic law violates children’s rights. Often, a state meets a standard in domestic legislation but its policy fails to implement the law. Sometimes, it is unclear what a law means in practice, or the meaning is clear but no one knows whether it is being implemented. These various gaps between international legal standards, domestic law and state policy (or corporate policy) present potential opportunities for legal advocacy.

There are also many avenues for legal advocacy. It is a broad term, not limited to taking rights violators to court. Many small-scale legal activities can enhance traditional campaigning, such as reporting on the implementation of a law, or raising awareness of what the law says. Sometimes, simply documenting and publicising the gaps between law and practice is enough to persuade decision-makers to act. But only sometimes. Towards the other end of the spectrum is work that demands more time and resources, including taking a government or corporation to court in order to bring broader social change. A successful case might improve the legal standards that apply to children, or lead to a major policy change of long-term benefit to children.

This introductory guide offers a brief overview of avenues for legal advocacy. It also offers guidance on how to explore your options, and how to promote legal advocacy work with other children’s rights advocates.

In South Africa, SECTION27 has used rights-based strategies, including litigation, to hold the state accountable for not ensuring the procurement and delivery of textbooks to schools across Limpopo, a poor rural area of the country.

For the past 18 months, a number of international, national and local organisations have been working together to research and assess the effects of the growth of private education from a human rights perspective in 8 countries. This work, led by the Global Initiative on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) in Partnership with the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) and the Right to Education Initiative (RTE), has produced an effective methodology that civil society can use to tackle privatisation in their countries.

This work has been conducted in Morocco, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Brazil, Chile and Nepal. In the UK, organisations have examined the impact of development aid to support to private education in developing countries.

This strategy has been very successful in producing statements and recommendations from key UN human rights bodies. The work has also contributed to reports by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the impact of private actors on the right to education. Advocacy at the international level has fuelled national advocacy and dialogue with governments, private actors and other stakeholders on this issue.

There is a unique opportunity for civil society to tackle complex issues of privatisation in education by using this framework. The methodology can easily be replicated by your coalition, even if you have no experience using human rights mechanisms. This 3-part series explains this work in more detail and how your coalition can get involved. The documents are designed as an introduction. 

Part 2 on How to use Human Rights Mechanisms is available, here.

Part 3 Case-Studies on Parallel Reporting to Tackle Privatisiation in Education is available, here.

FRANCAIS

For the past 18 months, a number of international, national and local organisations have been working together to research and assess the effects of the growth of private education from a human rights perspective in 8 countries. This work, led by the Global Initiative on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) in Partnership with the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) and the Right to Education Initiative (RTE), has produced an effective methodology that civil society can use to tackle privatisation in their countries.

This work has been conducted in Morocco, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Brazil, Chile and Nepal. In the UK, organisations have examined the impact of development aid to support to private education in developing countries.

This strategy has been very successful in producing statements and recommendations from key UN human rights bodies. The work has also contributed to reports by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the impact of private actors on the right to education. Advocacy at the international level has fuelled national advocacy and dialogue with governments, private actors and other stakeholders on this issue.

There is a unique opportunity for civil society to tackle complex issues of privatisation in education by using this framework. The methodology can easily be replicated by your coalition, even if you have no experience using human rights mechanisms. This 3-part series explains this work in more detail and how your coalition can get involved. The documents are designed as an introduction. 

Part 1 on Private Actors in Education & Human Rights: A Practical Methodology to Tackle the Negative Effects of Privatisation in Education on the Right to Education is available, here.

Part 3 Case-Studies on Parallel Reporting to Tackle Privatisation in Education is available, here.

FRANCAIS

For the past 18 months, a number of international, national and local organisations have been working together to research and assess the effects of the growth of private education from a human rights perspective in 8 countries. This work, led by the Global Initiative on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) in Partnership with the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) and the Right to Education Initiative (RTE), has produced an effective methodology that civil society can use to tackle privatisation in their countries.

This work has been conducted in Morocco, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Brazil, Chile and Nepal. In the UK, organisations have examined the impact of development aid to support to private education in developing countries.

This strategy has been very successful in producing statements and recommendations from key UN human rights bodies. The work has also contributed to reports by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the impact of private actors on the right to education. Advocacy at the international level has fuelled national advocacy and dialogue with governments, private actors and other stakeholders on this issue.

There is a unique opportunity for civil society to tackle complex issues of privatisation in education by using this framework. The methodology can easily be replicated by your coalition, even if you have no experience using human rights mechanisms. This 3-part series explains this work in more detail and how your coalition can get involved. The documents are designed as an introduction. 

Part 1 on Private Actors in Education & Human Rights: A Practical Methodology to Tackle the Negative Effects of Privatisation in Education on the Right to Education is available, here

Part 2 on How to Use Human Rights Mechanisms is available, here.

FRANCAIS

 

Parallel Report submitted by the National Campaign for Education-Nepal, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Sciences Po law school Clinic, and partners, on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nepal during the 23rd session of the UPR Working Group.

This report shows that the current organisation of education system in Nepal, in particular a high level of unregulated private involvement in education, is creating and entrenching segregation in education. Such segregation in itself constitutes a human rights violation and need to be ended. It is also the source of additional other human rights abuses, including discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic background, gender and race, the limitation of the right to free quality education, and the lowering of education quality. This situation is extremely problematic due to the immediate human rights violations it is causing, but also because the injustices it generates contribute to threatening the fragile social cohesion and peace that exist in Nepal.

Key resource

RTE's background paper for the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments.

The purpose of the paper is to show how a human rights-based approach offers insights and practical solutions to address the accountability deficits found in both education policy decision-making and implementation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Specifically, the paper argues that a human rights-based approach to accountability can bolster public policy accountability by defining the responsibilities of authorities, ensuring they are answerable for actions regarding those responsibilities, and how they can be subject to forms of enforceable sanctions or remedial action for failures to carry out those responsibilities.

As the national government is the primary duty bearer for the right to education it is important for any report on accountability to start with the responsibilities of government. The paper provides an overview of the right to education legal framework to which States have legally committed, as well existing international and regional accountability mechanisms.

The paper then explores the connections between the 2030 Agenda, the Incheon Declaration, and human rights law. The Incheon Declaration affirms, ‘the vision and political will reflected in numerous international and regional human rights treaties that stipulate the right to education and its interrelation with other human rights” (para. 2). In the Declaration education is framed as both a “public good” and a “fundamental human right” (para. 5). However, whether a rights-based approached is consistent or present in the operationalisation of SDG4 has not been clearly debated. Part of this challenge is the diluted and often, overly simplistic notion of what the right to education entails. The paper seeks to better understand the similarities and differences of these two large global frames for education and includes a matrix that links the normative content of each framework. This matrix shows that the content of each is largely aligned, even if the processes are not. The paper argues that by recasting the content of SDG4 as part of the right to education, the legal obligations owed to that content can be invoked. This renders various elements of SDG4, if the state in question has legally committed to the right to education and incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, amenable to adjudication by competent mechanisms, offering the possibility of legal accountability through legal enforcement.

The second half of the paper explores the prevalence of the right to education in national laws and the conditions necessary for the right to education to be successfully adjudicated at the national level. It provides an overview of how countries have incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, as well as a list of countries where the right to education is justiciable. This is complemented by a series of case studies that draw out the requirements for successful adjudication at the national level.

At the national level the incorporation and implementation of the right to education, as required by international treaties, requires at least three stages. Firstly, countries must translate their international legal commitment into concrete action to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education. This includes the incorporation of the right to education into the domestic legal order, through the adoption of education laws and policies. Secondly, countries must secure the right to education as a justiciable right. Lastly, the justiciable right to education must be able to be adjudicated fairly through the judicial system. Whilst the first stage is completed at a near universal level by countries, the final two stages, essential for the fulfilment of the right to education, are achieved by significantly fewer countries. Even when justiciability is present, various barriers may be present that hinder the adjudication of the right to education. Understanding how countries move from incorporation to application and implementation is essential to understanding whether the right to education is truly realised in a country. Our analysis shows that legal enforcement, through mechanisms competent to hold duty-bearers legally accountable, has a positive impact on the realisation of the right to education. Furthermore, little is known about how the political, social, and cultural context of a country limits or enables the adjudication of the right to education. This paper examines court cases from countries around the world to identify the conditions that enable the right to education to be realised through adjudication.

This practical toolkit on the right to education was published by Amnesty International in collaboration with the Right to Education Initiative.  It is part of the Haki Zetu handbook series on economic, social and cultural rights, developed by the Special Programme on Africa of Amnesty International Netherlands.

It contains sections on understanding the right to education and on taking action, with a particular focus on Africa – providing concrete examples at national and regional levels and reference to relevant laws and policies.  It is to be used in conjunction with the Main Book of the series, which provides general information on ESC rights. 

Both the Main Book and the practical toolkit on the Right to Education have been developed for local civil society organisations working with local communities to realise the right to education.  The tool seeks to assist community workers to better study laws and policies and promote the monitoring of the right to education.

Key resource

France’s investment in the education multinational Bridge International Academies (BIA) has raised serious concerns regarding the extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of France, in relation to the rights set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), particularly, the right to education.

Alternative report submitted in March 2020 by 13 civil society organisations, including the Right to Education Initiative, to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the occasion of the review by the independent experts of the Committee of the implemention by France of its human rights obligations, as definied under the ICESCR.

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