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Special Rapporteurs

(c)Gideon Mendel/ Corbis/ ActionAid
(c)Gideon Mendel/ Corbis/ ActionAid

Click HERE to see the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education


The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education is mandated to seek and receive information on violations against the Right to Education and their causes and consequences. Such information may come from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other Special Rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions, or from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The Rapporteur also has the possibility to respond directly to such information, by engaging in a dialogue with the different parties. This is especially pertinent, as it allows the Special Rapporteur to get a more diversified view. Civil society must therefore play an active role in supporting and informing the Special Rapporteur.

Special Rapporteurs write both country specific reports and thematic reports. Regarding the latter, the former Special Raporteur on the Right to Education has written on girls/gender (2006); on disability (2007); on emergencies (2008); on prisoners (2009) and on asylum seekers, migrants and refugees (2010). It is of course also interesting to look at the reports of other mandate holders (either thematic or country specific), or to petition their attention regarding specific human rights violations that have an influence on the enjoyment of the right to education.

The Special Rapporteur draws attention to aggravating factors and highlights the key role of human rights education and its concrete implementation at the classroom level to combat, for example, gender discrimination and stereotyping. Reports provide sets of recommendations based on the four elements identified as components of the right to education, namely: availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability.

"Special Rapporteurs", "Special Representatives of the Secretary-General", "Representatives of the Secretary-General" or "Independent Experts” all serve in their personal capacity and do not receive salaries or any other financial compensation for their work. The independent status of the mandate-holders is crucial in order for them to be able to fulfill their functions in all impartiality. 

Amongst their activities, most Special Rapporteurs receive information on specific allegations of human rights violations and send urgent appeals or letters of allegation to governments asking for clarification. They also carry out country visits to investigate the situation of human rights at the national level. Mandate holders typically send a letter to the Government requesting to visit the country.

To find out more please see the OHCHR site.

There have been 3 people in the position of special Rapporteur for the right to education:

Mr. Kishore SINGH (India), since 2010

Mr. Vernor MUÑOZ VILLALOBOS (Costa Rica), 2004-2010

Ms. Katarina TOMASEVSKI (Croatia), 1998-2004