A diverse range of minorities and Indigenous Peoples exist across the world, and one thing they all have in common is that they often face discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion.

International human rights law, underpinned by the principle of equality, guarantees the right to education of everyone. And yet, minorities and Indigenous Peoples are likely to be denied their right to education. According to Minority Rights Group International (2009, p.13), the majority of children who are out of school worldwide are minority and indigenous children. Minority and indigenous children are also regularly deprived of access to quality education that is relevant and responsive to their specific context and needs.  

To this end, international human rights law identifies a number of individual and collective dimensions of the right to education. This includes the recognition that minorities and Indigenous Peoples require special measures vis-à-vis the realisation of their right to education. However, in order for the protections guaranteed by international law to be engaged, minorities and Indigenous Peoples must be able to claim minority or indigenous status.