On the first day of school, children often worry whether they'll make new friends or like their teachers. But in the Dominican Republic, some confront a far graver concern: Will I be turned away because I don't have a birth certificate?

The report, Left Behind: How Statelessness in the Dominican Republic Limits Children's Access to Education, shows that many children born in the Dominican Republic but descended from foreigners, particularly Haitians, are denied an education. For generations, such children were recognized as citizens, but within the last decade, the Dominican government has refused to issue many of them birth certificates, identity cards and other essential documentation, rendering them stateless. The report concludes that the Dominican Republic is failing to comply with its domestic and international human rights obligations, including the human right to education.

The report is the product of months of research, including interviews with dozens of affected children and families, as well as educators, advocates and government officials. Several of the Dominicans of Haitian descent interviewed were prevented from attending primary school, secondary school or university because they could not obtain identity documents. Of those allowed to attend school despite not having birth certificates, many were denied the ability to take national exams required to graduate.

All of this occurs in spite of laws, policies, constitutional provisions and international human rights commitments that are meant to guarantee children's right to education. The report found that administrative barriers, discrimination and confusion about the law has meant that in practice not all children in the Dominican Republic are allowed to go to school, even if they consider themselves Dominicans.

This publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the Convention and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education. It has seven chapters reflecting the main issues and components including in the Convention and Recommendation. It begins by presenting the legal framework adopted by States. This is followed by a presentation of measures taken for eliminating discrimination in and through education; promoting equality of opportunity and treatment in this field, across all levels of education and through inclusive education; supporting affirmative action; enhancing quality education; religious and moral education; and the rights of minorities and language of instruction.

The publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the UNESCO Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education - considered a cornerstone of Education 2030. 

The examples are taken from national reports submitted to UNESCO for the Eighth Consultation of Member States on the implementation of these two international instruments.

The compendium seeks to provide an overview of promising measures taken to ensure equality of educational opportunities and non-discrimination – determining factors for the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, while also serving as a tool for information sharing and advocacy in connection with the right to education.

Ce rapport est le premier rapport du Défensuer des droits français à être consacré au droit à l'éducation depuis la création d'une autorité indépendante chargée de défendre les droits des enfants. Il porte sur l'effet des inégalités sociales et territoriales et des discriminations sur l'accès à l'école et sur le maintien dans l'école pour de nombreux enfants. Le rapport aborde les sujets ressortant le plus fréquemment des saisines reçues par l'institution et relatives aux difficultés de scolarisation des enfants, au sein de l'école publique. Il vise à faire progresser l'effectivité des droits des enfants grâce à des recommandations concrètes et opérationnelles à destination du gouvernement, des ministères de l'Education nationale et de la Justice, ainsi que des collectivités territoriales.