PRISONERS’ Rights to Education – Report to UN Human Rights Council

The UN Special Rapporteur on Education wants interested people to inform him to:

* clarify the content of the right to education in places of detention
* identify those with the principal responsibility for its implementation
* highlight the most notable challenges faced in that implementation
* put together examples of innovative approaches to date and lessons learnt
* offer recommendations as to how implementation might be improved.

Please pass on this information to others, and send your response by 31st December, 2008 to:
UN Special Rapporteur on Education, P.O. Box 1245-1007, Centro Colon, Costa Rica or by e-mail:

The right to education is in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 26. It states that,
“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

This and other rulings mean that Governments have the responsibility to make education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable.

Background information

A Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. His specific role is to gather, request, receive and exchange information from all relevant global sources including: people who are and who have been previously in detention all over the globe; people from different races, religions, cultures and sexual orientation; people with disabilities and those without; those in closed and/or open institutions; those who have chosen not to or have been unable to undertake educational programmes (formal and/or informal); those who currently enrolled; and those with little or high levels of education.

The Special Rapporteur, Mr. Vernor Muñoz Villalobos makes:

a) Thematic reports to the Human Rights Council. His thematic focus for 2009 is the right to education for people in detention.

b) Country visits. The purpose is to investigate the situation of the right to education at the national level, and offer recommendations for improvements.

c) Communication with Governments.

The Special Rapporteur seeks credible and reliable information on specific allegations of human rights violations on the right to education from a variety of sources.

These communications together with the replies of the Governments concerned are compiled every year
in a report submitted to the Human Rights Council and published widely.