Table 4: Minority Health and the Right to Education
Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Due to poor educational facilities in ethnic minority communities, illiteracy rates are high, and children are unable to access important health information.
  • Ethnic minority children are channelled into “special schools,” which provide an inferior education and limit their access to health information.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
ICCPR 19(2): Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. HRC: Noting the “grossly disproportionate” number of Roma children assigned to special schools and urging Slovakia to take immediate steps to eradicate this segregation. CCPR/CO/78/SVK (HRC, 2003), para. 18.
ICESCR 13(1): The State Parties . . . recognize the right of everyone to education. . . . [E]ducation shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity. CESCR: Urging the elimination of discrimination against Roma children in the Czech Republic by removing them from special schools and integrating them into the mainstream educational system. E/C.12/1/ADD.76 (CESCR, 2002), para. 44.
ICERD 5: In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: (d)(v) The right to education and training. CERD: Calling upon the Czech Republic to promptly eradicate racial segregation and the placement of a disproportionate number of Roma children in special schools. CERD/C/304/ADD.109 (CERD, 2001), para. 10.

CERD: noting that cultural and linguistic rights of the San are not fully respected in educational curricula in Botswana. A/57/18(Supp) (CERD, 2001), para. 305.

CRC 28: States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, CRC Committee: Calling upon Moldova, Poland, and the Ukraine to develop and implement a plan aimed at integrating all Roma children into mainstream education and prohibiting their segregation into special classes. CRC/C/15/ADD.191 (CRC, 2002), para. 75; CRC/C/15/ADD.194 (CRC, 2002), para. 53; CRC/C/15/ADD.192 (CRC, 2002), para. 50.

CRC Committee: urging South Africa to guarantee the rights of San children, particularly concerning language and access to information. CRC/C/15/ADD.122 (CRC, 2000), para. 41.

Other Interpretations

European Charter of Fundamental Rights (14) (1): Everyone has the right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training. (2) This right includes the possibility to receive free compulsory education.

European Race Equality Directive (1): The purpose of this Directive is to lay down a framework for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, with a view to putting into effect in the Member States the principle of equal treatment. (3)(1): Within the limits of the powers conferred upon the Community, this Directive shall apply to all persons, as regards both the public and private sectors, including public bodies, in relation to: (g) education.