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, and to respond effectively to such information. 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 latter is especially pertinent, as it allows the Special Rapporteur to get a more diversified view. Civil society must therefore pay an active role in supporting and informing the Special Rapporteurs in their work.
The Special Rapporteurs write both country specific reports and thematic reports. Of the latter the current Special Raporteur on the Right to Education has written on girls/gender (2006); on disability (2007); on emergencies (2008), on the Right to Education for prisoners (2009) , and his report for 2010 will focus on the Right to Education for migrants and refugees. It is of course also interesting to look at the reports of other mandate holders (whether these are thematic or country-specific), or to petition their attention regarding specific human rights violations.
“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 gender discrimination and stereotypes. The report provides a set 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” 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 fulfil their functions in complete 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.
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There have been two people in the position of special Rapporteur for the right to education:
Mr. Vernor MUÑOZ VILLALOBOS (Costa Rica), since 2004
Ms. Katarina TOMASEVSKI (Croatia), 1998-2004