The Role of Civil Society in the realisation of the Right to Education

Yesterday OIDEL delivered a joint oral statement during the General Debate Item 2 & 3 of the Human Rights Council. The debate was about certain thematic reports of the OHCHR, we were specially interested on the good practices of civil society to enable human rights (click here to know more)  OIDEL together with other NGOs wanted to warn about the importance of the civil society in the realisation of the Right to Education.

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“Thank you mister president,

I speak on behalf of  OIDEL, Commission Africaine des Promoteurs de la Santé et des Droits de l’homme, Graduate Women International (International Federation of University Women), Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco (IIMA), International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES and Teresian Association

We really appreciate this report and we think that the obligations of the public authorities towards civil society could not be better defined. OIDEL is convinced that the realization of each right requires at certain level the participation of civil society. As said in the report progress and civic participation go hand in hand. Moreover, the report quoted that “a confident nation gives citizens a say and a role in the development of their country”.

However we are surprised that this list of good practices does not include the right to education, besides certain mention to Human Rights Education. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right of the individuals to set up educational institutions. As stated by the Dutch Mission during the negotiation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the prior right for parents to choose the education they consider best for their children is a guarantee that education does not become a State monopoly.[1]

 Moreover, it is clear that the countries that are friendlier with the provision of education through civil society are also countries that have addressed with excellence the challenge of diversity and the accomplishment of civil rights.

The content of this report was the compilation of practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society. Although we think that the overall objective was well accomplished the annual report remains incomplete due to the lack of inclusion of practices concerning the provision of the right to education.

We encourage the UN OHCHR to take into consideration the role of civil society in the provision of education due to the good impact it has in the realization of friendly environment for the right to education.

In this regard, we also want to invite the UN OHCHR to review our last report “Freedom of Education Index 2016”. This report shows how the participation of civil society in the provision of education is a cornerstone of democratic societies and a guarantee for minorities in pluralistic societies.

Among the good practices we have identified we can highlight the important role in deprived areas of charter schools in the United States or the subsidized non-government schools in South Africa. The report also shows that the participation of civil society in education is compatible with quality. Among countries with the highest level of freedom of education we find some of the best PISA results; such as the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Thank you Mr. President,”

 

Ignasi Grau

[1] GLENDON, Mary Ann, 2001  A World made new. Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Random House (p.159 y 190)

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