The UN Human Rights Council adopts thematic resolutions as a result of its ordinary sessions and has been a permanent practice since its creation in 2006 (General Assembly resolution 60/251), replacing the former Commission on Human Rights.The annual thematic resolutions on education are adopted in follow-up to resolution 8/4 of June 18, 2008. “The right to education”, which recognizes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education and extends his mandate and, at the same time, decides to continue considering the right to education under its agenda items. The Human Rights Council annual resolutions on the right to education are connected to the work of the special rapporteur on the right to education and also respond to the functions set forth in paragraph 5 of resolution 60/251, among which states: “b) Serve as a forum for dialogue on thematic issues on all human rights” and “d) Promote the full implementation of human rights obligations promoted by States …”.

A major resolution to advocate for stronger public education systems

On July 9th, the Human Rights Council, under the auspices of a number of States and based on a project prepared by Portugal, adopted Resolution A / HRC / 41 / L.26 referring particularly to the threat of privatisation to the Right to Education, following the recommendations from the Special Rapporteur Dr Boly Barry.

Resolution A / HRC / 41 / L.26 contains a general section on the scope of the right to education and its normative and political framework, mentioning the importance of the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Incheon Declaration on Education 2030. In addition, it mentions some of the most important threats to the realisation of this human right, such as attacks against students, teachers and universities, the negative impact of climate change and conflicts, discrimination against girls and women. The resolution welcomes the implementation of legislative and judicial measures for the justiciability of the right to education and notes the development of guiding principles that experts have developed on human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education, like the Abidjan principles.

And for the respect of the human right to education for all

Finally, the resolution urges states to fully comply with their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education, for which it calls them to:

(a) Developing adequate standards and regulations for the involvement of private educational actors and institutions in education, and providing the resources necessary to implement these regulations;

(b) Supporting the compliance of applicable standards and regulations by private educational institutions through such measures as appropriate advice and management assistance and support tools;

(c) Considering setting an accountability framework that is aligned with human rights law and standards for both public education and private involvement in education;

(d) Considering and assessing the short and long-term systemic impact of private educational institutions with a view to evaluate the need for adjustments in regulations that respond to such systemic impact.

How to use this resolution

GCE members can use this resolution to strengthen their advocacy processes, as well as a complementary material to the GCE “Financing matters” tool-kit. In addition, the resolution can be useful as an instrument of enforceability at the local level and for guiding the preparation of alternative reports to the UN Treaty Bodies and Universal Periodic Review process.

By Vernor Muñoz, Head of Policy and Advocacy, GCE Secretariat team

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.