Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on summary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education
Speaker: Sanila Gurung
Thank you Mr. President
It is my pleasure to speak on behalf of Rutgers, Asian Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Choice for Youth and Sexuality, Hivos, dance4life, Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network and International Planned Parenthood Africa Region. As members of the Right Here Right Now Consortium we agree with the Special Rapporteur that still millions are denied the right to education and the worst forms of discrimination still affect marginalised people and communities. The further growth of private actors in education threatens the states obligation vis-a-vis right to education as well as the right to non- discrimination and equality more broadly. From Pakistan to India to Nepal, evidence shows that privatisation of education exacerbates gender discrimination because in many contexts, as education becomes costly, families give priority to their sons’ education over their daughters’.123
Lack of access to education must be seen within the wider social context in which it deepens gender inequality, increases risk to harmful practices such child and early marriages and gender-based violence, leads to inequality in the workplace and within labour markets as well as denial of political and civil rights, and marginalization. A renewed emphasis on quality free public education as state obligation is thus needed to address structural barriers to women and girls’, LGBTIQ and other marginalised youth’s access to education so it becomes a truly transformative measure to protect and fulfil their fundamental human rights.
Realities from a wide range of countries show that due to lack of accountability, girls and LGBTIQ youth face additional forms of discrimination in the context of private schools, including increased risk to sexual harassment, abuse and bullying in school premises with relative impunity for the perpetrator, discriminatory practices against pregnant girls, promotion of gender stereotyping, sexism and homophobia in the curricula.4 Whereas private actors in education may still be publicly funded, their exemption from public regulations threatens other critical elements of the right to education and SDG 4. Such as the extent to which global citizenship education and education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights and, comprehensive sexuality education are included in curricula. We think comprehensive sexuality education is vital to education for sustainable development.
Quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education is needed to promote health and well-being, respect for human rights and gender equality.5 Besides, CSE is essential to girls participation in education and preventing school dropout. As a lack of information on sexual and reproductive health and rights often leads to teenage pregnancies or absenteeism during menstruation.
Recent years have shown a targeted and organised attack on CSE at all levels, propped by the persistence of myths and misconceptions.6 CSE is one of the first elements in school curricula to be dropped, with all ensuing consequences. When privatisation of education is not regulated this will be even more the case. Many countries do not have the resources to conduct supervision of regulations on CSE, especially of private schools.
Thank you Mr. President
1 ActionAid. The effects of privatisation on girls’ access to free, quality public education in Malawi, Mozambique, Liberia, Tanzania and Nepal(Rep.). (2017, September). Retrieved http://www.ungei.org/_The_effects_of_privatisation.pdf
2 Human Rights Watch (2018). Shall I feed my daughter, or educate her? Barriers to Girls’ Education in Pakistan. Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/11/12/shall-i-feed-my-daughter-or-educate-her/barriers- girls-education-pakistan
3 Delhi’s Economic Survey Points Out A Serious Sex Ratio Problem In Private Schools. (2018, March 20). Retrieved from https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/03/sex-ratio-in-delhi-private-schools/
4 “Privatisation and its impact on the right to education of women and girls”, written submission by ActionAidet al to CEDAW, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.campaignforeducation.org/docs/reports/GCE_Submission_Privatisation_CEDAW_2014.pdf
5 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) et al (2018), International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An Evidence-Informed Approach, Paris: UNESCO, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ images/0026/002607/260770e.pdf.
6 Shameem, Naureen (2017), Rights at Risk: Observatory on the Universality of Rights Trends Report 2017, Toronto: the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), www.oursplatform.org/ wp- content/uploads/Rights-At-Risk-OURs-Trends-Report-2017. pdf, p. 65.