Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monitoring of the obligations relating to the content of education


77. The content of education as it relates to racial discrimination and religious intolerance falls within the purview of several bodies involved in the monitoring of international human rights treaties whose objects include education, either fully or in part. As we have seen, this is due to the crosscutting nature of the right to education and to the variety of fields in which it is implemented and of its beneficiaries.

78. In accordance with their mandates, the various committees set up by the relevant international conventions take the content of education into account in a wide variety of ways. Paradoxically, it is not the committees with the most direct competence that have had the most satisfying results. According to one study, only the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Rights of the Child take the content of education into account in their guidelines for periodic reporting by States.82 Even so, these guidelines merely recall the general principles set out in the two Conventions and recommend that States should indicate in their reports what steps have been taken to ensure that the aims of education are consistent with the relevant provisions (articles 7 and 29, respectively).83 On the other hand, the guidelines of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights make no reference whatsoever to the obligations of States regarding the content of education. This absence is all the more regrettable in that the Committee is the obvious body for the formulation of recommendations in this area: matters relating to education, and in particular, to its aims as set out in article 13, paragraph 1, of the Covenant, fall directly within the full competence of this Committee, and as such, its guidelines as well as the interpretations it has given would be extremely useful.

79. Finally, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights envisages no procedure like that established under article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This is indeed regrettable and does nothing to enhance the protection of the right to receive education in conformity with the objectives of non-discrimination and tolerance set out in article 13, paragraph 1.86 It must be recognized, however, that the Human Rights Committee does not hesitate to monitor, through individual complaints, pursuant to article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, compliance by States parties with their commitments under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - in other words, under an instrument which does not fall self-evidently within its purview and which has its own monitoring body. In reality, the Human Rights Committee monitors, not the content of the right to be protected but rather, in an audacious manner, the right not to be subjected to discrimination in conformity with article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even though the right in question is not covered in that instrument.

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