This report examines the right to education of children in detention in thirteen countries: Albania, Belgium, Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

This issue of the INTERIGHTS Bulletin focuses on litigating the right to education in Africa. It includes the following articles:

Litigating the Right to Education: Editorial
Solomon Sacco and Susie Talbot

Africa and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Malcolm Langford and Rebecca Brown

Litigating the Right to Universal Primary Education: Challenges and Prospects
Iain Byrne

Toward Recognition of the Right to Free Education in Colombia
Esteban Hoyos-Ceballos and Camilo Castillo-Sánchez

Expropriation as a Means to Protect the Right to Basic Education: The Case of a Farm School on Private Property Facing Eviction
Dmitri Holtzman

Lessons from Litigating Universal Primary Education in Swaziland
Ruchi Parekh

Developing a Litigation Strategy Regarding Non-Fee Barriers to Equal Access to Free and Compulsory Education for Children in Kenya
Hellen Mutellah

Litigating the Expulsion of Pregnant Girls
Solomon Sacco

Tactics to Secure the Right to Education for Children Living with Albinism in Kenya
Gertrude N Angote

Dzvova v Minister of Education, Sports and Culture & Ors
Bellinda Chinowawa

Republic v Head Teacher, Kenya High School, ex parte SMY
Charlotte Leslie

The Legal Way of Doing Things: The Competing Powers of School Governing Bodies and Education Authorities in South Africa
Karabo Ngidi

The ECOWAS Decision on the Right to Education in SERAP v Nigeria
Adetokunbo Mumuni and Chinyere Nwafor

Advancing the Right to Education Through the Communication Procedure in the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Charlotte Leslie

Part of a law which allowed the Colombian government to charge for primary education was deemed unconstitutional after a pair of Colombian lawyers, collaborating with the law faculty at New York’s Cornell University and a coalition of civil society organisations, brought a direct challenge against its discriminatory provisions.

Colombia está ante la histórica oportunidad de dejar atrás un conflicto que ha afectado directamente a su población por décadas. Los acuerdos finales entre el gobierno de Colombia y las FARC-EP permitirán la construcción de una paz estable y duradera. Sin embargo, la firma y refrendación del acuerdo de paz con las FARC-EP, de capital importancia, deben entenderse como el inicio del verdadero proceso para lograr la paz.

El Estado colombiano tendrá la obligación de establecer una presencia sobre los territorios más alejados y abandonados, de una forma positiva que genere confianza, cambios reales y oportunidades para los territorios rurales afectados por el conflicto. Dudar o fallar en ésta labor podría perpetuar el periodo de violencia y frustración.

La inequidad en Colombia tiene un fuerte sesgo rural. Los índices de pobreza y marginalidad, ausencia de servicios públicos y falta de acceso a una educación pertinente y de calidad, son excepcionales en estas regiones. Según el último censo nacional, el 45,6% de las personas residentes en el área rural dispersa vive en condiciones de pobreza multidimensional, porcentaje que incrementa al 63,8% cuando se hace referencia a la condición de pobreza de grupos étnicos y poblaciones desplazadas por el conflicto armado.

Adicionalmente, éstas mismas zonas rurales son históricamente las más afectadas por la presencia de actores armados y la violencia. Según un estudio de 2012, el 57% de los niños, niñas, adolescentes y jóvenes reclutados y vinculados por grupos armados procede de familias muy pobres que tienen severas restricciones en el consumo de alimentos y que se han desplazado como media 4,5 veces por violencia. La falta de educación, de oportunidades laborales y la condición de pobreza, se transformó en la receta perfecta para perpetuar el conflicto armado durante cinco décadas en el país.

La debilidad institucional y el conflicto confluyen en la precaria situación de la educación rural en materia de acceso, permanencia y calidad. Más de un 20% de los niños y adolescentes rurales entre 5 y 16 años no va a la escuela, porcentaje que se incrementa al 73,7% entre los 17 y 24 años. La mitad de los niños, adolescentes y jóvenes rurales no llega a superar el quinto grado.

Estos jóvenes tienen menos oportunidades de acceso al sistema escolar y no existen soluciones de fondo a los retos de calidad, permanencia y deserción. La falta de continuidad de la oferta educativa, el desplazamiento forzado, la pobreza y los problemas económicos, el coste de uniformes y útiles escolares, el transporte y la necesidad de trabajar son los principales problemas.

Based upon Plan International's dataset of 1.4 million sponsored children, the report compares sponsored children with a disability to those without, from 30 countries worldwide. The report, produced in collaboration with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reveals that children with disabilities in developing countries are being held back from an education. The findings will help Plan International - and other researchers and organisations - to improve responses to the needs of children with disabilities, particularly their health and education.

In this decision, the eighth chamber of review of the Constitutional Court of Colombia found that the State had violated the fundamental rights to education and equality of four children who lived outside the urban centre by not providing transportation to the closest secondary education institution.

In this action brought by a transgender student against the National Service of Education (SENA), the Constitutional Court defended the right to education and the free development of the person by ordering that the student be allowed to wear a male uniform, that he be treated in accordance with his identity as a transgender man, and that the SENA implement a plan that promotes the respect and free development of the person, particularly regarding expressions of gender identity and sexual orientation.

In this case, petitioners supported by the Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education filed a claim with the Constitutional Court of Colombia challenging a provision in the General Education Law (Law No. 115 of 1994), which allowed the government to impose fees for primary education. The Constitutional Court found that the provision of law that allowed the charging of fees for primary education was unenforceable and in violation of the Colombian Constitution and international human rights treaties. This decision reaffirmed that Colombian laws must be interpreted in light of the provisions of international human rights treaties, which have a superior standing. The decision also confirmed the fundamental nature of the right to free primary education.