Equity and Inclusion on Education: New report

The last report of the Special Rapporteur, Koumbo Boly Barry, transmitted to the general Assembly is about equity, inclusion and non-discrimination on education.

The first part of the report consist on the legal definition of these terms according to the human right international legislation.

The special rapporteur recalls that human rights international legislation prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition and birth. The definition and the core of what should be considered discrimination in the field of education is based on the Convention against Discrimination with the right to education, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous People.

Also, the special rapport mentions that it is important to distinguish between equity and equality in education to properly tackle this problematic. Equality refers to treating all students the same. Equity is providing all students with what they need to succeed. Thus, equity implies taking into consideration the social circumstances of each student including ethnic or religious background. As said by the special rapporteur. On this regard she mentions “Respect for diversity should be reflected in curricula, which should be sensitive to the culture and religion for learners”

Inclusive education, according to the report, is about providing the same learning environment for students of diverse background and abilities. It is interesting to observe that Mme. Boly mentions that inclusion has to go beyond disable people and include also the inclusion of students with different linguistic and cultural aspects. It is important to observe that the special rapporteur emphasize a participatory and holistic approach to make inclusion happen. On this regard she mentions “Effective inclusion must be implemented through education laws and policies, and it must also incorporated into the culture and practices, within school”. Besides that inclusion is intrinsically good, the special rapporteur recalls that the outcomes of inclusive education are also really good as they lead to the best learning outcomes of students.

After these definitions, the special rapporteur focuses on the legal definitions and implications that Mme. Boly has to be implemented concerning certain vulnerable groups. She made reference to Women and girls, children with disabilities, poor people, cultural ethnic and linguistic groups, indigenous communities, rural population, refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons, nomadic peoples, Roma children, stateless people and the role of private education. In most of the cases she follows the same methodology. For each particular vulnerable group she mentions the international human rights documents that can concern them; secondly it makes references to the comments concerning discrimination, equity and education made by the Committees and thirdly it mentions good practices and challenges. The followed methodology enables an easy use of it due to its systematization.

The Special Rapporteur warns that the primary responsibility for implementing the right to education as an equitable and inclusive right lies with governments. Nevertheless, the international organizations must provide targeted political, financial and technical support, especially in relation to the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Education 2030 Framework for action.  On this regard, she also recalls the participatory approach of the Education 2030 with the civil society.

Ignasi Grau

Here you can find the full report: http://www.right-to-education.org/sites/right-to-education.org/files/resource-attachments/UNSR_RTE_Inclusion_Equity_2017_En.pdf

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El presidente de la CIJ en la Comisión de Derecho Internacional

Ronny Abraham, actual Presidente francés de la Corte Internacional de Justicia se centró principalmente en dos temas: las medidas cautelares y las decisiones emitidas por la Corte.

Comenzó su intervención haciendo mención al trabajo llevado a cabo por la Corte Internacional de Justicia en el último año: en seis nuevos casos y l siete decisiones . En relación a dichas decisiones consideró conveniente señalar que no versan sobre el fondo de cualquier tipo de controversia si no sobre incompatibilidades y ordenanzas de admisibilidad viéndose limitada la jurisprudencia sustancial durante este último período.

A continuación, enumeró las ordenanzas para las medidas cautelares referidas a los procesos más recientes y profundizó en dicha materia. Cabe señalar que ha habido tres ordenanzas recientes (Guinea Ecuatorial vs. Francia, Ucrania vs. Rusia e India vs. Pakistán) y que el Presidente considera esta cifra relativamente importante puesto que confirma una tendencia que destaca sobre periodos anteriores.  Asimismo, estableció que las  decisiones de la Corte con respecto a las medidas cautelares permiten confirmar la orientación establecida del Tribunal sobre los criterios para concederlas o rechazarlas.

Por último, señaló que ha habido siete nuevos casos este añoy que hay acutalemente  19 casos pendientes en la Corte Internacional de Justicia y, en palabras de D. Ronny Abraham, “es una cifra que nunca antes se había alcanzado ni si quiera a lo largo de las últimas décadas y eso exige unos esfuerzos concretos por parte del Tribunal de adoptar decisiones en un plazo necesario. Mientras más aumentan los casos más necesario es aumentar el tiempo o no perder el tiempo en el desarrollo de los procedimientos jurídicos”.

 

Teresa de la Iglesia Rodríguez y Salve Martínez Gil-Rivera

Transhumanismo y tecnociencia. Un enfoque basado en los derechos humanos

[ppt side event] transhumanismo y tecnociencias -GINEBRA 15.6.2017

Este texto pretende ser un resumen de la presentación que Juan García realizó en el side event “Transhumanisme et ciberculture. Les relations entre la science et les droits de l’homme.”

La resolución del Parlamento Europeo de 16 de febrero de 2017 se centra en tres ámbitos importantes. En primer lugar, la implicación ética y deontológica para la dignidad humana de las máquinas capaces de adquirir autonomía y sustituir a los humanos a la hora de prestar cuidados y hacer compañía. En segundo lugar, se fija en las consecuencias que pudieran derivarse para las políticas sociales europeas, véase en empleo. Y en tercer lugar fija la necesidad de establecer un marco jurídico que facilite la industria e investigación de forma que refleje los valores intrínsecamente europeos y humanistas que caracterizan la contribución de Europa a la sociedad.

En general, cuando pensamos en tecnología pensamos en las Técnicas de Comunicación e Información. Sin embargo, nos hallamos en medio de una tecnorrevolución donde existen nuevos tipos de tecnología que además son convergentes. En este amplio grupo de tecnologías podríamos distinguir otros dos: aquellas tecnologías que se centran en lo orgánico del ser humano para modificarlo (genética, nanotecnología) y aquellas que lo hacen para recrearlo (robótica) Estas tecnologías están en condiciones de reescribir el futuro y de transformar nuestra visión del mundo y de nosotros mismos.

Es en este contexto donde surge el transhumanismo como marco ideológico alternativo que da sentido a las tecnologías convergentes. Si las tecnociencias tienen como referencia los derechos humanos, el transhumanismo se deshace de ellos, siendo su única finalidad el perfeccionamiento tecnológico.

Según el transhumanismo hay una responsabilidad moral de mejorar tecnológicamente al ser humano, no solo de manera individual, sino también en su conjunto. Sería el transhumanismo un momento evolutivo hasta llegar al post-humano, momento en que la inteligencia artificial se podría fusionar con la inteligencia humana a todos los niveles.

El Instituto sobre el futuro de la humanidad, de la Universidad de Oxford, en la Declaración del Transhumanista, afirma que éste es un movimiento cultural e intelectual cuyo deber moral es mejorar las capacidades físicas y cognitivas eliminando los aspectos no deseados y no necesarios como el envejecimiento, el padecimiento o la misma muerte. Podemos decir que los tres pilares del transhumanismo son la búsqueda de la superinteligencia, la superlongevidad y el superbienestar.

El problema es que dibujar la mejora humana de manera puramente artificial y colectivista no está exento de problemas éticos. El enfoque transhumanista enmascara la defensa de una naturaleza humana puramente natural y orgánica basada únicamente en la tecnología. Es preciso favorecer el desarrollo de posiciones tecnocientíficas que permitan el desarrollo humano integral. La postura que choca con el transhumanismo por su defensa de la vida y dignidad de los seres humanos se llama bioconservadora. El propio Parlamento Europeo, a través del STOA, se ha distanciado de las posturas transhumanistas al considerar éste solamente la función corporal y corgnitiva.

La Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos habla en este sentido del derecho de la persona a gozar y participar del progreso científico. El derecho a la cultura y el derecho a la ciencia están muy relacionados.

Hay múltiples ejemplos del uso del progreso científico y tecnológico en interés de la paz y en beneficio de la humanidad. La Declración de la UNESCO de 1975 proponía que “los Estados adopten medidas para evitar que los logros científicos se utilicen en detrimento dfe los Derechos Humanos, las libertades fundamentales y la dignidad de la persona.

Termina Juan García su intervención con la pregunta del periodista francés Guillebaud en “El principio de la humanidad”: ¿Cómo podemos promover los derechos del hombre si la ciencia pone en duda la definición de hombre? ¿Cómo conjurar los crímenes contra la humanidad si la definición misma de humanidad resulta problemática?

“The Right to International Solidarity: Meeting with the Independent Expert on the revised draft declaration”

Last Thursday, 8 of June, a public side event on the right to international solidarity was held at room IX of the UN Palace. OIDEL co-organize this event with the Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII and other NGOs of the CINGO WG on international solidarity. The event was opened and moderated by Jorge Ferreira.

Msgr. Ivan Jurkovic, Nuncio to the United Nations, first introduced solidarity as a broad concept that involves a fact or condition, a principle, a moral value. It is founded on the idea that we are debtors of society and, being ethical in nature, its implication for human life is also ethical. However, despite being all these things, it is currently unrealized, under threat. It gives way to the States’ sovereignty, when in theory both concepts are not opposed, since the principle of solidarity is linked to the principle of subsidiarity.

In this line, Ms. Virginia Dandan, Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and author of the draft declaration on the human right to IS, added that, in a time when nationalism and segmentation are arising, IS must come to stop them. Its definition and implementation are explained in the draft, as well as the obligations that it entails. However, Ms. Dandan was clear that IS necessarily means action; it cannot be left behind in plans. And, since IS is already a principie in people’s lives, it is therefore necesary to make sure that it becomes a pinciple in the life of governments as well. You can find the link of the draft declaration here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Solidarity/ProposedDraftDeclarationSolidarity.pdf

Following on, Mr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, stressed the relevance for his mandate of the recognition of such a right. He also spoke about the need of working on a draft declaration on the human right to peace, even though the States deem there are no legal grounds for it.

Finally, it was Ms. Maria Mercedes Rossi, from the Associazione, who intervened. She explained how IS has an individual and a collective dimension. She said the latter corresponds to the African way of thinking: “I am because we are”, while the former corresponds to the Western way, which she finds rather arrogant. She also questioned the States’ allegation according to which the human right to IS has no legal basis and defended the need of making a right out of it in order to make it effective.

Afterwards, during question time, Ms. Dandan, and Ms. Rossi explained the difference between preventive solidarity, which tackles root causes and has a long-time frame, and reactive solidarity, which is deployed ex post (i.e. after a natural disaster, calamity) and has an instant time frame. They declared that preventive solidarity is the one that is needed, using the example of starvation in the world, which has root causes that have to be dealt with.

As a conclusion, Ms. Dandan stated that the road to right’s protection is a long one. International Solidarity is a choice one has to make; poverty is a fight that must be fought every single day. Sympathy will not do; as she said, even dogs can feel.

However, the actual conclusion was made by someone from the public, who requested to speak and quoted Pope Francis: “Nothing in Nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of Nature.”

 

Eugenia de Lacalle

Integral Human Development – Transforming Our World: the Holy See and the 2030 Agenda:

Yesterday, 18 of May 2017, took place an event in the UN about the view of the Holly See of the Agenda 2030.

The event was introduced and moderated by the Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See in the UN, Archbishop Ivan Jurkoviç. Archbishop Jurkoviç recalled the message of Pope Paul VI to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the will of the Holly see to work together with the objectives of the UN. As Paul VI said “Your Charter goes further, and our message moves ahead with it.”

After the message of Archbishop Jurkoviç, there was a message from the Director General of the United Nations at Geneva. Michael Moeller underlined the timeless message of Pope Francis of “being compassionate”. He mentioned the important role of religion to face nowadays challenges, especially those of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. He referred the convergence of aims of the UN with the Catholic Church when it comes to target those most in need. Moeller was glad to see that Pope Francis saw the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 as a sign of hope in a world of fragmentation and he stressed that this process involves the Catholic Church at all stages. Finally Moeller remarked the harmony between the Pope Encyclical Letter Laudatio Si’.

The third speaker was Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UNCTAD. He emphasized that the 2030 Agenda reinforce the mission and work on the UNCTAD, especially when it mentions the importance of inclusion. New challenges have appeared the last years – Migrants, Climate Change…- and new solutions need to be found. On this regard, Kituyi mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in multiple fields.

The biggest intervention was done by the keynote speaker Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. For Cardinal Turkson sustainable development is the best way to realize inclusive prosperity. In line with what Pope Francis has said during his intervention at the General Assembly of the UN he urged to put an end to the world poverty. This challenge is especially important considering that the widen gap between the first world and the third world. The conditions of the poorest have further deteriorated. Part of the problem as he said is the individualistic ideology of economy that is anchored on the selfishness of the human being.

These problems require a comprehensive solution, as the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 agenda. The Holy See welcomes this approach and is happy to observe that this agenda is fully consistent with the recognition that all human beings have a common dignity. This idea of common dignity facilitates the comprehension of the common good, which is not an abstract collective thing, but a conception of good conceived for the needs of each individual, as well as their communities and groups. Although human beings are autonomous, we cannot forget two essential features: its dignity and that they are created for coexistence.  With the 2030 Agenda the International Community has considered this comprehensive dimension of the human being, and has decided to ground this document with solidarity instead of egoism.

On this comprehensive vision of the 2030 Agenda the role of religion cannot be neglected. This is way Cardinal Turkson stressed the important role of freedom of religion shaping the way we interact with our neighbors. Moreover, interreligious dialogue plays an essential role on this regard, and it must be a priority for the succees of the 2030 Agenda. Although, it is not only the lack of finance that is causing our problems, but the lack of peace and dialogue. Pope Francis has stressed this point multiple times.

Finally Cardinal Turkson, mentioned that in order to achieve this change of paradigm, to move beyond egoism to solidarity and to stop our indifference to the marginalized the Holly See has done some organizational changes. Pope Francis has merged four existing Pontifical Councils (Cor Unum, Justice & Peace, Migrants & Itinerant People and Health Care Workers), into the new Dicastery for Promoting integral Human Development, which is called to promote the integral development of each and all persons in the light of the Gospel.

After the intervention of Cardinal Turkson there was the response of the Panellists. Among them, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of RED Cross, who underlined the role of peace as a cornerstone for the SDGs and stressed the importance of public –private partnerships to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Also it was interesting to hear Pasquale Lupoli, Senior Regional Adviser for the Europe and Central Asia International Organisation for Migration, who urged about not neglecting the important role of the SDG for migrants problems, a group that haven’t stopped growing in the last 30 years.

Ignasi Grau

93th Council of the OIEC:

Last week OIDEL participated in the OIEC Council in Beirut. OIEC – Catholic International Education Office. OIEC is the entity that represents Catholic Education around the world, around the 70% of non-governmental schools are catholic.

The Council of the OIEC was from Thursday 27th until Saturday 29th April. Many issues were discussed but we would like to highlight the presentation of the new OIEC representation around the International Organizations.

Additionally, OIDEL made a presentation on “Education 2030: The role of civil society”. The presentation was an occasion to present the new challenges of the international community and to show the role of Catholic Education in the implementation of the new agenda. Moreover, OIDEL took the opportunity to show how Catholic Education can improve the realization of the right to education in other UN mechanisms.

Among the events OIDEL take part we can highlight the participation of two other events. One was an audience with the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun, in the Baabda Palace. The other one was the participation on a conference on the importance of the TIC for the realization of the right to education. Conference organized by the Lebanese Catholic Education and the Ministry of Education of Lebanon.

The whole trip was a wonderful experience and we look forward that OIDEL can play an important role in this new phase of the OIEC, and we also look forward to contribute with all the regions and countries that are part of it.

 

Ignasi Grau

18th Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development

This weekly session of the Working Group (WG) was organized as a place to discuss about criteria and sub-criteria written in the draft of the Declaration on the Right to Development (RTD) and find a common language to agree upon. OIDEL has participate on this Working Group as part of the CINGO.

This WG has been working on the RTD for years, discussing on the principles and identifying the necessity of indicators and criteria. They represent an innovation, a new vision of human rights in which individual and collective rights are interrelated in the process of guaranteeing an equal and fair development for all.

The invited experts presented, from different perspectives, the reasons of the importance of this document and the need of a comprehensive development of standards and indicators. Some of them stressed also the importance of a link with the language of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to gain consensus and they discussed on the issue of the nature of the document, whether it should be legally binding or not.

During the discussion, it was addressed the issue of consensus and the need of a joint, equilibrated action, recalling also Goal 17 of the SDGs, but the difficulties were numerous, starting with the US declaration of no further engagement in the discussion and the polarization between developing and developed countries.

Some of the States present, as the one represented by the European Union, expressed disagreement on the necessity to adopt a legally binding document. Furthermore, the EU reminded the numerous reserves they have on the language of the criteria and sub-criteria.

Following this statement, some States as Egypt, Venezuela, Iran, Equator, together with NAM and CINGO[1], reminded the WG that the document shall be finished between this and the 19th session and there has been sufficient time to come up with comments and modifications to discuss instead of just taking a disagreeing position.

From this moment on, the WG found itself at an impasse, the EU and Japan were asking for more time to consult on the documents, more than the one already given by the numerous recesses. The other States, supported by NAM and CINGO, were appealing the States to engage in a constructive dialogue to use at best the time given. Neither formal nor informal meetings helped the States to move from this strong polarization. Nothing broke the division created during these sessions, not even the sensible words of the Chairperson Ambassador Zamir Akram or the appeal of CINGO to remember that the WG exist to ameliorate the life of people and not to take political positions.

During this last day, NAM held a private meeting after which presented a document with recommendations and conclusions discussed during an informal. In this occasion too, the States couldn’t agree on the issue of the legally binding document nor on the respect of the deadline for the drafting of this Document on the RTD.

 

Beatrice Bilotti

[1] Group of organizations consulting and presenting a united front in the WG in which OIDEL is an active participant.