The ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers was adopted on 5 October 1966 at a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris in cooperation with the ILO. It sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. It also contains many recommendations for teachers’ participation in educational decisions through consultation and negotiation with educational authorities. Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.

The UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1997, following years of preparatory work between UNESCO and the ILO. This standard is a set of recommended practices covering all higher education teaching personnel. It is designed to complement the 1966 Recommendation, and is promoted and its implementation monitored by UNESCO in cooperation with the ILO, notably through the Joint ILO/ UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART).

The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during times of armed conflict; the importance of the continuation of education during armed conflict; and the implementation of concrete measures to deter the military use of schools.

By joining the Safe Schools Declaration, states commit to undertake several common-sense steps to make it less likely that students, teachers, schools, and universities will be attacked, and to mitigate the negative consequences when such attacks occur.

These measures include:

  • collecting reliable data on attacks and military use of schools and universities
  • providing assistance to victims of attacks
  • investigating allegations of violations of national and international law and prosecuting perpetrators where appropriate
  • developing and promoting 'conflict sensitive' approaches to education
  • seeking to continue education during armed conflict
  • supporting the UN's work on the children and armed conflict agenda
  • using the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, and bringing them into domestic policy and operational frameworks as far as possible and appropriate

The Declaration is also a framework for collaboration and exchange, and endorsing states agree to meet on a regular basis to review implementation of the Declaration and use of the Guidelines.

The Guidelines for protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict can be found, here and the accompanying commentary, here,

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was adopted on 22 May 2004 by the Council of the League of Arab States. It reaffirms the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and therefore, the right to education.

Article 41 guarantees the right to education and obliges States Parties to eradicate illiteracy. It provides for free compulsory primary education. It defines the aims of education and refers to human rights education. It also guarantees on-going education and adult education.

Article 40 is specifically on the right to education of persons with disabilities.

Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/32/L.33 adopted during the 32nd Session on the right to education. This resolution urges States to give full effect to the right to education, including by taking measures including the regulation of non-State actor providers of education:

2 (e) Putting in place a regulatory framework for education providers, including those operating independently or in partnership with States, guided by international human rights obligations, that establishes, inter alia, minimum norms and standards for the creation and operation of educational services, addresses any negative impacts of the commercialisation of education, and strengthens access to appropriate remedies and reparation for victims of violations of the right to education;

Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/35/L.2 on the right to education adopted on 22 June 2017 during the 35th Session.

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General recommendation No. 19 on violence against women, adopted by the Committee at its eleventh session in 1992, states that discrimination against women –as defined in article 1 of the Convention- includes gender-based violence, that is, ‘violence which is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately’, and, as such, is a violation of their human rights.

For over 25 years, the practice of States parties has endorsed the Committee’s interpretation. The opinio juris and State practice suggest that the prohibition of gender-based violence against women has evolved into a principle of customary international law. General recommendation No. 19 has been a key catalyst for this process.

The joint general comment elaborates on the nature of State Party obligations that arise from Article 6 (b) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and Article 21 (2) the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It expounds upon the underlying principles of interpretation that serve as a lens through which the relevant provisions of the aforementioned instruments should be understood. It further describes legislative, institutional and other measures that should be taken by States Parties to give effect to the prohibition of child marriage and to protect the rights of those at risk or affected by child marriage.

The scope of the general comment covers children in child marriages, children at risk of child marriage and women who were married before the age of 18. The document gives guidance to governments, csos, igos, child protection clusters, practitioners, individuals and groups in any effort towards the elimination of child marriage and protection of children in this context.

The joint comments includes a section (IV) on state obligations which stipulates that states must adopt institutional measures around education. In particular, it requests states parties  to "put in place measures to retain all children but especially girls in school and to raise awareness about the importance of their education." Policies states must adopt include measures to encourage pregnant girls to keep attending or returning to school. 

 

Key resource

The aim of the present general comment is to clarify the obligations of States parties regarding non-discrimination and equality as enshrined in article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Section K of the general comment refers to the right to education:

  1. The failure of some States parties to provide students with disabilities, including students with visible and invisible disabilities and those who experience multiple discrimination, with equal access to mainstream school with inclusive and quality education is discriminatory, contrary to the objectives of the Convention, and in direct contravention of Articles 5 and 24. Article 5 (1) interacts with Article 24 of the Convention and requires States parties to remove all types of discriminatory barriers, including legal and social barriers, to inclusive education.
  2. Segregated models of education, which exclude students with disabilities from mainstream and inclusive education on the basis of disability, contravene articles 5 (2) and 24 (1) (a) of the Convention. Article 5 (3) requires States parties to take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided. That right is strengthened for persons with disabilities in article 24 (2) (b), which requires States parties to ensure an inclusive education for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live. That goal can be achieved by providing reasonable accommodation of an individual’s requirement, in accordance with article 24 (2) (c), and developing new and inclusive settings according to universal design. Standardized assessment systems, including entry examinations, that directly or indirectly exclude students with disabilities are discriminatory and in contravention of articles 5 and 24. States parties’ obligations extend beyond the school. States parties must ensure accessible school transportation is provided to all students with disabilities where transportation options are limited due to social or economic barriers.
  3. To ensure equality and non-discrimination for deaf children in educational settings, they must be provided with sign language learning environments with deaf peers and deaf adult role models. The lack of proficiency in sign language skills of teachers of deaf children and inaccessible school environments exclude deaf children and are thus considered discriminatory. The Committee calls upon States parties to be guided by its general comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education when carrying out measures to fulfil their obligations under articles 5 and 24.

The General Comment is available here.

The aim of the present general comment is to clarify the obligations of States parties regarding non-discrimination and equality as enshrined in article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This document lists the international and regional instruments that guarantee the right to education, with their relevant provisions.

 

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