At the end of 2019, at least 13.4 million school-age children (5-17 years old) were internally displaced due to conflict or violence. These numbers are likely an underestimate with many internally displaced children unaccounted for due to lack of data. The periods of internal displacement are becoming longer, with years becoming decades and internally displaced children spending the majority of their school-years displaced. The majority of these children do not have access to quality, safe and inclusive education due to discrimination, financial, legal, and insecurity barriers.
The five country case studies (Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Syria Ukraine) in this report demonstrate that adopting legal and policy frameworks is not enough to uphold the right to education for internally displaced children. Challenges to implementing these policies are linked to institutional, financial, political, and cultural factors.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the responses of States thereto have had a very significant impact on the enjoyment of a wide range of social rights. The Council of Europe’s European Social Charter provides a framework for the measures that must be taken by States Parties to cope with the pandemic as it unfolds. The treaty also provides a necessary framework for the post-pandemic social and economic recovery as well as for preparation for and responses to possible future crises of this nature.
With the present statement the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) aims to highlight those Charter rights that are particularly engaged by the COVID-19 crisis. (It does not address the right to protection of health under Article 11 of the Charter, which was the subject of a separate statement adopted in April 20201 ). The statement provides guidance to States Parties, organisations of workers and employers, civil society and other key stakeholders by clarifying certain aspects of the Charter rights in question as they apply in the current crisis.
Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a crucial time for the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth of children. Access to quality early childhood care and education (ECCE), therefore, can be vital in laying the foundations for children’s long-term development, well-being, learning, and health. Despite this, universal and equitable access to free, quality, and compulsory pre-primary education is one of the major education challenges. One out of two children does not receive pre-primary education. While access to quality pre-primary education is inadequate globally, the opportunities for pre-primary education are drastically restricted for migrant children. Significant inequalities exist between migrant and local-born children in terms of quality access to pre-primary education.
This brief focuses on some of the important issues related to young migrant children’s access to ECCE and pre-primary education, and the key challenges in the existing legal framework. It further proposes to strengthen the legal framework and policy development for the inclusion of ECCE in-migrant response strategies.
The number of forcibly displaced persons is on the rise worldwide, and they are displaced for increasingly protracted periods. Access to education for refugee children and youth remains a major concern, including at the higher education level. While data on refugee access to higher education remain scarce and incomplete, it is estimated that only 3 per cent of refugees were enrolled in higher education in 2021. This figure stands in contrast to a global gross enrolment ratio (GER)1 in higher education of 38 per cent worldwide in 2018. Against this background, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set the 15by30 target, meaning that by 2030 15 per cent of refugees should gain access to higher education. In order to reach this target, the access to host countries’ higher education systems is of particular importance, as 83 per cent of refugee youth who are enrolled in higher education (for whom data are available) are enrolled in their host countries. The present Policy Paper has analysed the empirical literature on the benefits of access to higher education for refugees. It shows that there are considerable direct benefits for refugee youth themselves, and also clear advantages for the host countries’ economies and social development, to which refugees contribute. Access to higher education enhances their motivation to succeed in pre-university education. It offers identity and social position, and access to skills development and economic opportunities, including through entrepreneurship, and therefore greatly enhances their social and economic integration and life chances.
This Policy Paper presents inclusive policies and good practices from these countries and their HEIs, organized by type of obstacle to access. It concludes by presenting 15 recommendations on how host countries can support refugees’ access to their national systems, arguing strongly for an ‘equality of opportunity approach’ in terms of national policies, and also for caring measures at the level of HEIs. The 15 recommendations are made mainly for national policy-makers and planners, but also for HEIs, who share a combined responsibility and whose actions can mutually reinforce each other.
Education is a fundamental human right under international law. While it should be a right that everyone is entitled to, migrants face multiple challenges in the enjoyment of their right to education.
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur aims to understand these challenges and considers the de facto and de jure situation of the right to education of migrants around the world. Through an analysis of international and regional legal frameworks and more than 500 relevant documents authored by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations bodies, the report presents its major findings in terms of the 4As framework for the right to education: availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability, as well as in terms of cross-cutting issues related to identity.
The report identifies key issues to ensuring the right to education of migrants, including the capacities of public educational institutions, and challenges migrants face in accessing educational facilities and quality educational opportunities that take into account the specific needs of migrant groups.
The report proposes key recommendations to improve the protection and guarantee the full enjoyment by migrants of their right to education through the implementation of the 4As framework for the right to education.
The present report outlines the main activities undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, during the reporting period. In the report, the Special Rapporteur highlights the human rights challenges faced by migrants in an irregular situation by providing an analysis on how irregularity increases vulnerability to human rights violations. He discusses how to address situations of vulnerability of migrants due to a lack of regular migration status by creating and strengthening regularization mechanisms. On the basis of the information and analysis provided by States, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders, the Special Rapporteur identifies promising practices, ongoing efforts and existing challenges and provides a set of recommendations aimed at expanding and diversifying regularization mechanisms and programmes to enhance the protection of the human rights of migrants.
Higher education is part of the right to education, protected under international human rights law. This means that states have the obligation to protect respect and fulfil the right to higher education and that there are ways to hold them accountable for violations or deprivations of the right to higher education.
However, despite a comprehensive international legal framework ensuring the right to higher education without any discrimination and a wide political commitment to promote inclusion in higher education, important inequalities persist, both in terms of access to higher education and of access to the most socially rewarding degrees and programmes. Issues such as privatisation of higher education and rising tuition fees represent a threat to equal access and participation in higher education, especially in contexts where structural social inequalities - such as class, gender, or territorial inequalities - persevere. Moreover, certain groups - such as ethnic, racial, and religious minorities as well as migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers - are still widely underrepresented in higher education if compared to their proportion in the population as a whole.
These, and many other challenges regarding access and participation in higher education, can be brought to light when we carefully monitor the right to higher education. It is only by monitoring the right to higher education that adapted laws and policies which can address persistent inequalities and discriminations can be designed.
This guide proposes a human rights based approach to inequalities regarding students’ access to and participation in higher education. This guide is part of a series of thematic guidance notes providing practical advice on monitoring various aspects of the right to education from a human rights perspective.