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The then UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Vernor Muñoz, released his general report on the right to education in June 2008. Mr. Muñoz focused his report on education in emergencies, as he identified this as a particular source of concern that affects large groups of people. The Special Rapporteur wrote this Report through a consultative process where contributions were accepted in questionnaire form from a wide range of individuals, including INEE members and member organizations. A summary of the responses sent to the Special Rapporteur is given in the Report.
The Report introduces issues related to education in emergencies and assesses the consequences that emergencies have on education. Emergencies are defined as situations that arise out of armed conflict or natural disaster. The Report examines recent trends that have affected education in emergencies, as well as the legal and political frameworks that drive international response to emergencies. The Special Rapporteur has provided clarification of the key players and their responsibilities, and has outlined the priorities of “actor” agencies and donors. Subsequent sections deal with the affected populations and the curriculum.
A number of general recommendations and specific recommendations to States, donors, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations are made in this Report. Please click here for the General Recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur.
The Special Rapporteur has placed strong emphasis on the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and the INEE Minimum Standards, and has made specific recommendations for their use by donors, NGOs, intergovernmental bodies, and the IASC Education Cluster.
Click here for a document that highlights the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur specifically related to INEE.
The Special Rapporteur urges the international community to commit more wholeheartedly to the implementation of the right to education in emergencies and recommends as a first step that this right should be recognized by States, donors, multilateral agencies and organizations as an integral part of the humanitarian response to conflicts and natural disasters.
He also recommends the following measures to guarantee the immediate priority of this right:
(a) Greater emphasis should be placed on guaranteeing the right to education during emergency situations, whereas currently attention is focused on post-conflict situations;
(b) More action should be taken to put an end to impunity for persons and armed groups, including regular armies, who attack schools, students and teachers;
(c) There is need for further research into the effectiveness of some of the measures prompted by the increase in violence against schools, teachers and students, such as armed responses in defence of communities and the promotion of resistance;
(d) The Special Rapporteur acknowledges with satisfaction the increased interest in the allocation and effectiveness of assistance in emergency situations. However, he believes that greater attention should be paid to assigning more resources, specifically to fragile States;
(e) There should be prompt attention to the consequences of emergency situations for girls and female adolescents, and strategic measures developed to give physical and emotional protection in order to ensure that they go to school;
(f) There should be more thorough research into specific programmes for young people and adolescents, including the needs of persons with disabilities;
(g) Greater attention should be paid to understanding and the development of education for peace;
(h) There should be a shift away from the current emphasis on quantifiable, but often inaccurate, figures on school enrolment and dropout rates, for example, and greater use of qualitative methodologies which will make it possible to determine the degree of psychosocial care during emergencies.