Note: For practice concerning attacks against schools, see Rule 7D.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 24, first paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides that “[t]he parties to the conflict shall take the necessary measures to ensure that [the education of] children under fifteen, who are orphaned or are separated from their families,” is facilitated.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 50, first and third paragraphs, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
The Occupying Power shall, with the co-operation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.
Should the local institutions be inadequate for the purpose, the Occupying Power shall make arrangements for the maintenance and education, if possible by persons of their own nationality, language and religion, of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who cannot be adequately cared for by a near relative or friend.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 94, second paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The education of [interned] children … shall be ensured; they shall be allowed to attend schools either within the place of internment or outside.”
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Article 13 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education.” It further provides: “Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all.”
Additional Protocol I
Article 78(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “Whenever an evacuation occurs … each child’s education, including his religious and moral education as his parents desire, shall be provided while he is away with the greatest possible continuity.”
Additional Protocol II
Article 4(3)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides: “Children … shall receive an education, including religious and moral education, in keeping with the wishes of their parents, or in the absence of parents, of those responsible for their care.”
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 28 of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child provides: “The States Parties recognize the right of the child to education”.
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Article 11 of the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child provides: “Every child shall have the right to an education.”
Agreement on Human Rights annexed to the Dayton Accords
Article 1(12) of the 1995 Agreement on Human Rights annexed to the Dayton Accords states: “The Parties shall secure to all persons within their jurisdiction the right to education.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.”
Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice
Rule 13.5 of the 1985 Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice states: “While in custody, juveniles shall receive … educational [assistance]”.
Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice
Rule 24.1 of the 1985 Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice states: “Efforts shall be made to provide juveniles, at all stages of the proceedings, with … education.”
Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
Guideline 20 of the 1990 Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency states: “Governments are under an obligation to make public education accessible to all young persons.”
Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty
Rule 38 of the 1990 Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty states: “Every juvenile of compulsory school age has the right to education suited to his or her needs and abilities and designed to prepare him or her for a return to society.”
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 4 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 78(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 1 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 78(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
Principle 23 of the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement states:
1. Every human being has the right to education.
2. To give effect to this right for internally displaced persons, the authorities concerned shall ensure that such persons, in particular displaced children, receive education which shall be free and compulsory at the primary level. Education should respect their cultural identity, language and religion.
3. Special efforts should be made to ensure the full and equal participation of … girls in educational programmes.
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) provides that the parties to the conflict shall take the necessary measures for children under seven years of age to ensure that “their maintenance, the exercise of their religion and their education are facilitated in all circumstances. The latter shall, as far as possible, be entrusted to persons of a similar cultural tradition.”
The manual also states: “The occupying Power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.”
The manual adds:
Should the local institutions be inadequate for the purpose, the occupying Power shall make arrangements to ensure the maintenance and education, if possible by persons of their own nationality, language and religion, of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who cannot be adequately cared for by a near relative or friend.
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides, with respect to non-international armed conflicts: “Children shall receive the assistance and care they require, in particular concerning their education, including their religious or moral education.”
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides that “the occupying power must ensure that … proper steps are taken to maintain [the] education and religious welfare” of children under 15 years of age.
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
The occupying power must take necessary steps to ensure that children under 15 years of age and who are separated from their families are not left to their own resources, and that proper steps are taken to maintain their education and religious welfare.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states that in situations requiring the evacuation of children: “The evacuation does not obviate the obligation to continue to ensure the (religious or moral) education of these children as desired by their parents.”
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides that belligerents “must ensure the maintenance of [children under 15] and facilitate the exercise of their religion, while their education must as far as possible be entrusted to persons of a similar cultural tradition”.
The manual further states, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: a. an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care”.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power:
Belligerents must make provision for the care of children under 15 who have been orphaned or separated from their families as a result of the conflict. They must ensure the maintenance of such children and facilitate the exercise of their religion, while their education must as far as possible be entrusted to persons of a similar cultural tradition.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual states: “[The 1977 Additional Protocol II] provides that children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: a. an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care”.
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “Evacuation [of children] does not dispense with the duty to continue to provide [for] each child’s education (including his religious and moral education) as his/her parents desire.”
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that education shall be provided to children.
The Report on the Practice of Indonesia, with reference to the Military Manual (1982), states that children under 15 years of age, orphaned or separated from their families as a result of conflict, shall be given access to education.
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) provides that the occupying power “shall take all necessary measures to ensure … the education of minors”.
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009), in a section on the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states: “All practicable measures must be taken … to ensure that those who have become orphaned or separated from their families as a result of the war are not left to their own resources and that … their education … [is] facilitated in all circumstances.”
In the same section, the manual also states: “As far as children are concerned, it is provided that the occupying power, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, must facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
1060. Children must receive the care and help that they need.
1061. This involves: receiving an upbringing, including religious and moral, in accordance with the wishes of the parents or carers.
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides that belligerents “must ensure the maintenance of [children under 15] and facilitate the exercise of their religion, while their education must as far as possible be entrusted to persons of a similar cultural tradition”.
The manual further states: “The Occupying Power must take the necessary steps to ensure that children under fifteen separated from their families are not left to their own resources and that proper steps are taken to maintain their education and religious welfare.”
With respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular, the manual states that children “are to receive such aid and protection as they require, including an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care”.
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides: “Necessary measures must be taken for children under 15 years … in any circumstances, so that their care, religious practice and education are facilitated.”
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “As concerns children, international humanitarian law envisages the following: … the right of children to receive an education shall be guaranteed”.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides that belligerents “must ensure the maintenance of [children under 15] and facilitate the exercise of their religion, while their education must as far as possible be entrusted to persons of similar cultural tradition”.
The manual further states:
If the local institutions are not adequate for the purpose, the Occupant must make arrangements for the maintenance and education of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who can not be adequately looked after by a near relative or friend. The persons entrusted for the maintenance and education of such children shall, if possible, be persons of the children’s own nationality, language and religion.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “In the event of an evacuation of non-nationals, each child’s education must be provided with the greatest possible continuity. This should include moral and religious education as desired by parents.”
In its discussion on the 1977 Additional Protocol II, the manual states:
In general, “children shall be provided with the care and aid they require” but the protocol also lays down particular requirements. These include an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Articles 24 and 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV.
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime.
Croatia’s Law on Displaced Persons (1993) and Directive on Displaced Persons (1991) provide that displaced children shall be educated.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Law on Child Protection (2009) states: “The State ensures the … education … for children affected by armed conflict, tensions or civil troubles, especially those who are found and not identified in relation to their family environment.”
The Law also states: “For the purpose of the present law, it is understood as: 1. child: every person under the age of 18”.
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment].
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment].
Georgia’s Law on Displaced Persons (1996), as amended to 2010, states:
The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories of Georgia [shall] support IDPs in the enjoyment of their rights at temporary dwelling spaces, together with the executive authorities and local self-government bodies, who:
e) Ensure the IDPs’ constitutional right to education and free education at public secondary schools at the expenses of the government.
The Law defines an IDP as:
a citizen of Georgia or a stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, who was forced to leave his place of permanent residency and seek asylum within the territory of Georgia due to a threat to his or his relatives’ life, health and freedom, as a result of an aggression by a foreign state, an internal conflict or massive violations of human rights.
Georgia’s Law on Displaced Persons (1996), as amended in 2011, states:
Article 1 – The Term IDP and [the] Prohibition of Discrimination
1. Internally displaced person from the occupied territory – IDP is a citizen of Georgia or stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, who was forced to leave his place of permanent residency and seek asylum within the territory of Georgia due to the threat to his life, health and freedom or life, health and freedom of his family members, as a result of aggression of a foreign state, internal conflict o[r] mass violation of human rights or [a]s a result of events determined by … paragraph 11 of article 2 of this Law.
… Article 2 – Rules of Recognition as IDP and Granting of … IDP Status
11. In case of marriage of [an] IDP[,] a person’s IDP status shall be retained. If both or one of the parents to a child is [an] IDP, a child may be granted IDP status based on consent of the parents.
Article 5.4 –Ensuring the [rights of] IDP[s] in the Temporary Residence
1. The Ministry supports the IDPs in [the] enjoyment of their rights in … temporary dwelling spaces together with the executive authorities and local self-government bodies, who:
c) Ensure the IDP’s constitutional right to education and free education at public secondary schools at the expense of the Government[.]
Georgia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (2014) states:
Article 6. Definition of an IDP
1. A citizen of Georgia or a stateless person with a status residing in Georgia shall be considered as an IDP, if he/she was forced to leave his/her permanent place of residence because of threat to his/her or his/her family member[s’] life, health or freedom caused by the occupation of the territory by a foreign state, aggression, armed conflict, mass violence and/or massive human rights violations and/or he/she cannot return to his/her permanent place of residence due to the above mentioned reasons.
2. An underage person is entitled to ... IDP status if one or both of the parents have and/or had IDP status, only based on the consent from [the] parent(s) or his/her other legal representative.
3. In case IDP status is not granted to an underage person in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article, IDP status will be granted based on personal application when the person reaches [the] age of majority.
Article 16. Social Protection of an IDP
1. The Ministry [of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia], within its mandate, together with other state bodies shall support an IDP to exercise his/her rights. In particular, they shall
c) ensure enjoyment of the constitutional right to education and state-funded general education as established by the legislation of Georgia.
Guinea’s Children’s Code (2008) states:
A Child under the age of 15 years of age who is deprived of their liberty for reasons linked to an armed conflict shall benefit from all the protection granted to him by International Humanitarian Law.
- A Child shall receive schooling, including religious and moral education, according to the wishes of his parents or guardians.
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Articles 24, 50 and 94 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 78(2), as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 4(3)(a), are punishable offences.
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism (Surrendees Care and Rehabilitation) Regulations (2011) states:
10. (1) The Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation shall, in consultation with the District Secretary of any District, the relevant Provincial Commissioner of Probation and Child Care Services and the Chairman, National Child Protection Authority, take steps to identify suitable locations for the establishment of –
(a) Protective Child Accommodation Centres for the purpose of accommodating any person under eighteen years of age, (hereinafter referred to as a “child surrendee”) who surrenders or is arrested in terms of paragraph (3) of this regulation; and
(b) Protective Child Rehabilitation Centres for the purpose of providing care, psychosocial support, and vocational and other training for the facilitation of the process of re-integration of a child surrendee into his family, community and into society.
(3) Where a person under eighteen years of age –
(a) who … has been forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict … or
(b) who has committed or is suspected of having committed an offence during any period in which he … was forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict … or
(c) who through fear of threats or reprisals by any party to the said armed conflict, or who through fear of … being forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict …
surrenders to, or is arrested by, any police officer or any member of the armed forces or surrenders to any public officer or any other person or body of persons authorized by the President in that behalf, such police officer or member of the armed forces or public officer or other person or body of person authorized by the President, shall record the statement of such child surrendee and the circumstances in which such child surrendee surrendered or was arrested.
17. Where the Magistrate orders that a child surrendee shall be accommodated at a Protective Child Accommodation Centre, such Magistrate shall, if such Protective Child Accommodation Centre is located in a judicial division other than the judicial division over which such Magistrate has jurisdiction, transfer the record relating to such child surrendee to the Magistrate having jurisdiction over the area in which such Protective Child Accommodation Centre is located.
18. (1) The officer in charge of the Protective Child Accommodation Centre at which such child surrendee is accommodated, shall –
(f) provide the child with education or appropriate vocational, technical and other training with a view to equipping him to pursue a career of his choice;
(2) The officer in charge of the Protective Child Accommodation Centre shall maintain a record substantially in Form No. 4 specified in the Schedule to these regulations.
19. The Magistrate to whom the reports referred to in regulation 18 are submitted, shall take all such measures as may be necessary to monitor the progress of such child surrendee and, where he is of the opinion that it would be more appropriate for such child surrendee to be accommodated at a Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre or returned to the custody, care and control of his parents, or guardian, transfer such child surrendee to such Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre or return him to the custody, care and control of his parents.
20. Where the Magistrate orders that such child surrendee be accommodated at a Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre, or that such child surrendee be returned to the custody, care and control of his parents or guardian, he shall cause –
(a) the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation to be informed of the address of the place to which such child surrendee has been transferred or sent; and
(b) a certified copy of his order to be issued to the parents or the guardian as the case may be and also to the police.
21. If the Magistrate orders that a child surrendee be placed in a Protective Child Rehabilita[ti]on Centre and if such Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre is located in a judicial division other than the judicial division over which such Magistrate has jurisdiction,
(a) such Magistrate shall transfer the record relating to such child surrendee to the Magistrate having jurisdiction over the area in which such Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre is located; and
(b) the probation officer who has been assigned to monitor the progress of such child surrendee shall transmit all relevant records and reports relating to such child surrendee to the relevant probation officer having jurisdiction over the area in which such Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre is located.
22. (1) The officer in charge of the Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre in which such child surrendee is placed shall –
(f) provide a child surrendee with education or appropriate vocational, technical and other training with a view to equipping him to pursue a career of his choice;
(g) prepare quarterly reports, and submit them to the Magistrate, the probation officer and the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, which reports shall contain information regarding any changes on the current status of the child surrendee, the training and facilities being accorded to him and the progress of such child surrendee;
23. (1) The Magistrate to whom the reports referred to in regulation 18 are submitted shall –
(a) review his decision to accommodate or place as the case may be any such child surrendee at a Protective Child Accommodation Centre or a Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre once a month in the case of a Protective Child Accommodation Centre and once in three months in the case of a Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre to ensure proper monitoring of the progress and security of the child surrendee; and
(b) where he is of the opinion that it would be more appropriate for such child surrendee to be accommodated at another centre in another district or returned to the custody, care and control of his parents or guardian, shall transfer such child surrendee to such other centre, or hand the child surrendee to the custody, care and control of his parents or guardian.
The Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation considers the 1997 Law on Refugees to be applicable to internally displaced persons. One of the principal rights contained in this law is the right of children to receive a primary education.
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the  Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed.
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of
Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus
and/or opinio juris
have not been met. See Petane
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus
has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris
In 2009, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Afghanistan stated:
164. The MoLSAMD [Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled] adopted the National Strategy for Children at Risk in 2006. One of the Strategy’s objectives is to build a supportive environment for children at risk by creating conditions for … access to quality education … The Strategy also supports children who are at risk due to armed conflict and tries to secure a standard of living that is in line with the Convention’s standards.
176. In Afghanistan there are no street children, but there are child street workers who resort to working in the streets because of their families’ poor economic conditions, conflict-related problems (internal displacement and weakening of community support networks), and lack of educational opportunities.
178. The existence of child street workers is a big challenge for the Government and civil society. The Government, in cooperation with international organizations, has established drop-in day centres to support these children. The children come to the centres daily at specific hours. Here they have access to schooling [and] learning skills of their interest … These centres have teachers, social workers, and other service personnel.
- The MoE [Ministry of Education], in cooperation with relevant civil society organizations, has implemented a two-phase accelerated education programme targeting children, especially girls, who were deprived of education during conflict and Taliban era and reintegrate them into mainstream education. From February 2003 to end of 2005, education was provided in 17 provinces in more than 6,800 classes to 170,000 primary students by 6,800 teachers. The second stage, which is currently continuing, supports students aged 10 to 15 years to complete two education years in one year upon which they are enrolled into basic mainstream education schools.
Afghanistan also stated: “The laws of Afghanistan define all individuals under the age of 18 years as a child.”
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chad stated:
235. Chad is having to cope with an influx of refugees as a result of the conflicts which broke out in 2003 in Darfur and the Central African Republic.
236. In 2005, the east of the country was sheltering 220,000 refugees from Darfur, 60 per cent of them aged under 18.
237. In the south, Chad is sheltering some 40,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. Some 5,500 refugees are estimated to be living in urban areas. They are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, as well as from Sudan and the Central African Republic.
243. It should be noted that “Djanjaweed” incursions and rebel attacks have caused the internal displacement of 115,677 persons in the regions of Wadi Fira (Department of Dar Tama), Ouaddai (Departments of Assongha and Dar Sila), and Salamat (Department of Bahr Azoum). This total is estimated to include 48,578 children of pre-school age and 34,817 of school age (Source: UNHCR/N’Dj., 31 January 2007).
251. In the period 2004–2006 United Nations institutions, in particular UNICEF and UNHCR, in partnership with NGOs established an education system in the refugee camps both in the east and in the south of the country. There are about 75,000 children attending pre-school and primary school in the east. Some 360 classrooms have been built and 135 are under construction.
252.This education system established to help refugee children also benefits children affected by armed conflicts.
In 2009, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Human Rights Committee with regard to Chad’s initial report, Chad stated:
8. As a result of the conflict in Darfur in 2003, Chad was faced with an influx of Darfur refugees in the east of the country. In 2005 there were 220,000 refugees from Darfur, 60 per cent of whom were under the age of 18. The refugees are cared for by the Government of Chad with the support of the United Nations and international and national refugee organizations …
10. Conflict between communities, Janjaweed incursions and rebel attacks have caused the internal displacement of 50,000 persons in the Dar Sila region, 1,981 of them school aged children and 136 children separated from their parents. Protection and humanitarian assistance are provided by United Nations agencies, the Government and national human rights organizations.
11. In 2005 some 7,500 children were attending primary school or preschool in the east of the country. Approximately 360 classrooms have been built and another 135 are under construction.
In 2006, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Colombia’s third periodic report, Colombia stated:
By way of educational assistance to children who find themselves in situations of forced displacement as a result of violence, the Ministry of National Education, in coordination with the Education Secretariats, ICBF [Colombian Family Welfare Institute] and other government ministries and bodies, acts to ensure that they are incorporated in the school system. In this way, children are provided with a traditional-style education or instruction based on flexible educational models offering relevant alternative solutions in keeping with the dispersed and mobile nature of the population.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2008, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to its second periodic report, the Democratic Republic of the Congo stated:
Providing the necessary assistance for the physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as social reintegration of children who have left the armed forces or armed groups has been part of the DDR [disarmament, demobilization and reintegration] programme since its inception in 2001. Generally speaking, the process of psychological counselling and assistance in family and community reintegration is as follows:
(b) … Counselling sessions are held with them throughout their stay at the centre. Their educational level is assessed, and children found to have very weak skills take remedial classes in reading and writing and in basic education (rules of good behaviour and manners) …
Reintegration is undertaken on the basis of the educational projects of the “peace villages” in the form of occupational or educational guidance. The following occupations are the most common:
- Bakery and confectionery trade
- Sewing and dressmaking
- Bicycle and motorcycle repairs
- Automobile mechanics
- Fishing, agriculture and animal husbandry
- Masonry and bricklaying.
In 2002, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, El Salvador stated:
495. The Welfare Programme for FMLN [Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional] Children was adopted to facilitate the educational reintegration and technical training of minors demobilized from the FMLN, aged between 15 and 16 on 16 January 1992, who had not had access to the Land Programme under the Supplementary Agreement between the Government of El Salvador and the FMLN.
496. The National Secretariat for the Family conducted a national survey to identify child beneficiaries of the project and the reintegration option they wished to choose, either technical training or education at Ministry of Education establishments. Among the children identified, 152 opted to attend public educational establishments and 97 to enrol for technical training. The National Educational Supervision Directorate of the Ministry of Education took the requisite steps to have them enrolled, giving them priority access to baskets of basic educational materials and priority for exemption from the corresponding enrolment quota.
497. Only nine of the children who opted for enrolment in educational establishments were successfully incorporated in the system. The National Secretariat for the Family, with support from the World Food Programme, supplied them with a basic food basket for a period of six months. Only one of the nine children completed the course of studies.
498. The Vocational Training Programme funded by the European Economic Community, and the Programme for Integration and Promotion of Employment of Demobilized Persons financed by the German corporation for international cooperation GTZ and the National Secretariat for the Family, attended to the needs of the target group and to those of a further 25 children for whom no provision had been made in the Programme.
According to the Report on the Practice of France, the French authorities consider the persistent closing of schools and universities in the West Bank to be a matter of serious concern.
In 2005, in its Seventh Human Rights Policy Report submitted to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), Germany’s Federal Government stated:
With the 1998 guidelines on the handling of crises related to internally displaced persons (“Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”) by the then Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Francis Deng, the international community has a practice-oriented document, which summarizes existing standards on the protection of internally displaced persons and gives further recommendations. Although these guiding principles are not a binding instrument under international law, their acceptance by States, international organizations and NGOs has continued to grow over the past years, so that now they are virtually regarded as customary international law.
In 2014, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Georgia stated:
II. Violation of the rights of the child in the Occupied Regions of Georgia …
6. Information below covers violations of the rights of the child in the occupied regions of Georgia in the two-year period of 2012–2013. However, many trends identified in the document date back to more than a decade, but have become particularly manifest after the Russian occupation of the Abkhazia and Tsk[h]invali regions in 2008. The Russian troops drawing barbed wire fences, digging trenches and erecting other physical barriers along the Administrative Boundary Lines (hereinafter ABL) near Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region became commonplace and intense throughout 2012. As a result, lives of residents in the occupied regions and those living in the vicinity, including children, have been adversely affected. … Violations of the rights of the child in the Occupied Regions have taken place in the fields of inter alia … education, and constitute a grave breach of the  Convention on the Rights of the Child. The matter of fact that the effective control over these Georgian territories is now exercised by the Russian military and the political officialdom, puts the responsibility over these violations on the shoulders of the Russian Federation as the subject of international law.
7. At the same time, the Government of Georgia has been pursuing the Engagement Strategy and Action Plan (2010), which provide for inter alia educational and healthcare opportunities for the residents of the occupied regions, including children.
Restrictions on the Right to Education on Ethnic Grounds
11. Restrictions on the children’s right to education are imposed in several forms, ranging from restrictions regarding documentation and choice of schools to violations of the rights of teachers, pupils and parents on ethnic grounds.
12. To begin with, the pupils of the Gali district holding Georgian birth certificates are deprived of their fundamental right to study in [their] native language and are treated as “foreigners” in occupied Abkhazia. …
Restriction of Education in Native Language; Illegal Detentions of Pupils and Teachers
23. In the schools of the Gali district, predominantly inhabited by ethnic Georgians, studies in or of the Georgian language is either totally prohibited or allowed for a limited period of time. The Georgian language is replaced by the teaching of the Russian language. Georgian teachers have no other way but to teach Georgian informally at their own personal risk and those teachers or pupils who are found to be “implicated” in teaching/learning Georgian (e.g. by carrying a Georgian textbook) are often subject to physical assault. As a result, pupils have to walk from the occupied region through unsafe routes to study in Georgian schools in the Zugdidi district kilometers away. In some cases, Georgian pupils have to go to nearby schools that happen to be on the occupied territory. However, pupils and teachers face increasing difficulties and are often detained when moving across the ABL or via the bypass routes between the occupied regions and the rest of Georgia to pursue studies/teaching.
IV. General Principles
47. Due to Russia’s occupation of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Abkhazia[,] Georgia has been prevented from the opportunity to ensure protection of human rights, including children’s rights in th[ose] parts of the country. Serious facts of discriminations and human rights violations have been reported by numerous … reputable international organizations, committed predominantly against population of Georgian origin. People of Georgian ethnicity, including children, have been deprived of fundamental rights, such as … [the] right to receive education in their “mother tongue”[.]
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2009, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Guinea stated:
471. Guinea has been greatly affected by the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone that have raged since 24 December 1989. Faithfully observing international human rights agreements, the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] and the  African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Guinea has generously opened its doors to more than half a million refugees, including more than 305,000 children and young persons under 18 years of age (or 61 per cent of the refugee population), traumatized and hounded by a war that threatens their survival. They have been given shelter throughout the national territory, but especially in Guinée Forestière.
480. The armed conflicts in neighbouring countries and their repercussion[s] in Guinea … have affected children more than anyone else.
488. Social reintegration [of separated children, including former child soldiers,] is accomplished through:
- At the vocational level, placing children in different trades: driving instruction, mechanics, hairdressing, soap-making, etc.
- At the educational level, adaptation of some refugees to the Guinean education system with support for school meals and supplies
490. We witnessed more than 9,000 children and young persons organized into self-defence groups to defend and liberate [their] homeland … On the initiative of the Ministry for Children, a social and vocational training demobilization and reintegration project was … launched in the prefectures of Kissidougou and Guéckédou in Guinée Forestière. This project involved … 350 young persons, who received vocational training in eight key areas: coppersmithing, dressmaking, electrical work, bricklaying, information technology, farming, trade and carpentry.
With reference to two memoranda on accommodation in detention camps, the Report on the Practice of Malaysia states that during the communist insurgency, children were detained in Advanced Approved Schools and were provided with an education.
In 2008, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Nigeria stated:
The armed conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia caused an influx of refugees into Nigeria, the bulk of them are women and children. The National Commission for Refugees (NCR) maintains a camp in Oru, Ogun State where educational … facilities have been provided for children.
… Refugee children enjoy equal rights as nationals with regards to all the rights enshrined in the CRC [1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child], for instance:
Refugee children have access to existing primary and post primary schools. Public schools are free for refugees. Refugee children also have access to extra curricula activities such as sports and cultural activities … A day care centre is also established for over 200 refugee children who were not of primary school age.
Nigeria further stated:
The following steps are being taken at all levels of government to stamp out discrimination:
- Schools for refugees and displaced children have been established in the border towns of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi and Ogun States.
The Guidelines on Evacuations adopted by the Presidential Human Rights Committee of the Philippines in 1991 provide: “The government shall undertake appropriate measures so that the schooling of children evacuees shall not be prejudiced.”
In 2011, in its report to the Human Rights Council, Somalia stated:
Somalia has not ratified AP II [1977 Additional Protocol II] and it is therefore not directly applicable to Somalia as a matter of treaty law. The Government is aware that many provisions of AP II represent customary IHL rules and therefore apply to the situation in Somalia. Such provisions include Article 4 providing guarantees to persons taking no active part in hostilities … due to the fact that these norms are reflected in Common Article 3 of the  Geneva Conventions.
In 2012, in an opening statement at the Twelfth Annual Regional Seminar on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Pretoria, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation stated:
[T]here have been some encouraging achievements, for example, the  Convention on Cluster Munitions and the  Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which are either signed or ratified by almost all countries in Africa, and as a result many children that were used as child soldiers have been reintegrated back into their communities and are also enrolled in schools. Like the ICRC, South Africa believes very strongly that the safety of all the vulnerable, especially women and children should be of primary consideration.
In 1994, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Sri Lanka stated, with respect to child victims of armed conflict and refugees: “There are several urgent needs that have to be met [including] … education for children of school age”.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated:
19. The Government is encouraged that the TMVP [Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal] facilitated the release in April 2008 of 39 children held by the paramilitary group known as the Karuna faction. These children now have access to … vocational training … which the Government working in close cooperation with international partners – notably UNICEF – stands ready to provide. …
24. In April 2007, the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment established a Task Force in relation to children affected by the armed conflict. It focused on issues raised in United Nations Security Council resolution 1612 and the Security Council Committee set up under it. Subject areas of focus in the Task Force include conformity of Sri Lankan legislation with the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] to provide protection for children affected by the armed conflict, … [and] the promotion of compulsory education …
55. The Women and Children’s Division of the Department of Labour is the focal point for implementing ILO-IPEC [International Labour Organization-International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour] [a]ctivities in Sri Lanka. The IPEC activities are monitored by a Steering Committee of Stakeholders chaired by the Secretary to the Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower.
56. Among other things, with regard to Children in armed conflict, the IPEC programme implements a number of activities in the districts of Amparai, Mullaitivu, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Trincomalee, and Vavuniya which are in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. The specific IPEC responses are delivered within two inter-UN agency projects: The Action Plan for Children affected by War and the project on Repatriation, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (4Rs) in North East of Sri Lanka. The target group of beneficiaries are vulnerable children, including child soldiers from female-headed households and internally displaced families and adult family members. In both projects, IPEC has taken the lead in the area of vocational skills training. The development objective of IPEC’s North-East programme is to contribute to the withdrawal of child labour, specifically child soldiers from the worst forms of child labour through reintegration training programmes, and the prevention of entry of children into child labour through employment linked training programmes, particularly self-employment, for the target group and contributed to increasing the quality and capacity of training provides. Training has been undertaken in [a] variety of ways: formal centre-based training, informal rural skills training at the community level, mobile training, placement in apprenticeships and on-the-job-training. Simultaneously, children were also exposed to life skills training, provided with vocational and career guidance, and business start[-]up knowledge to enable them to explore their potential for self-employment and entrepreneurial business opportunities. The IPEC has also assisted more than 20 training providing organizations to upgrade their technical capacities and training equipment to deliver quality programs. …
57. Sri Lanka’s abiding commitment to the welfare of children irrespective of gender, ethnicity, caste and religion is borne out by its welfare programmes focussed on children, which includes the provision of … education island-wide. These welfare programmes, … have benefited children without discrimination and led to … high levels of literacy. However, these main social benefits are seriously eroded when children are used in armed conflict and suffer death, maiming, abuse and exploitation.
58. The Government is firmly committed to ensure that all children [are] free to learn, study …
96. Guidelines on Protective care, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child Combatants have been developed in collaboration with the office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation.
97. The Guidelines include the following:
(f) To provide education and vocational training at the interim protective centre based on the individual capacities of the children. This will be planned in a manner in which it will be meaningful to the children, with the objective of a livelihood relevant to their own communities;
(g) To respond effectively to the psychosocial needs of the children. These can commence with the introduction of diverse activities and interventions such as … education …
(i) Plan and develop community based interventions which take into account family realities of such children such as … education, [and] skill development …
113. However, the Government from the inception of the conflict has provided free primary, secondary and tertiary education to children in conflict affected areas. This includes free text books and school uniforms. The salaries for teachers, school supplies and recurrent costs to run the schools are paid by the Government. This includes 266,000 pupils and 11,000 teachers in the Northern Province and 377,000 pupils and 16,000 teachers in the Eastern Province.
114. … [T]he President, by regulation dated 12th September 2006, appointed the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation (CGR) who is entrusted with specific responsibilities in relation to all “surrendees” of the conflict, including children.
(c) The CGR is entrusted … to provide such surrendee with appropriate vocational, technical or other training. …
118. Once the surrendees are accommodated at the permanent [rehabilitation] centre at Ambepussa, … the Government has developed a programme which includes skills development, vocational training, training in aesthetics, language education and sports. … All surrendees will be provided with such services as are necessary for their physical and mental wellbeing. … This interim protective care will include … education, … [and] vocational training … The NCPA [National Child Protection Agency] will collaborate with the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation on many of these aspects including the Ministries of Vocational Training, Child Development and Women’s Empowerment as well as UNICEF.
122. An interim care protective environment will be established and created for those children who need to remain. This will take the form of a child friendly education institution and be staffed by specially trained persons. Stigmatization is sought to be prevented by laying emphasis on education. …
Income generation and education programmes
134. All children in Sri Lanka including children vulnerable to recruitment living in the North and East have access to free primary, secondary and tertiary education. Education could be regarded as a preventive tool against child recruitment. At present, there are 1,848 functioning Government schools in the North and East, out of which 1,545 schools are Tamil medium schools. However the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] has in the past and continues even at present to try to recruit children in schools through indoctrination and the use of propaganda material. This is particularly prevalent in “uncleared” areas in North where the LTTE is still active.
135. A total of 726,591 children attend school in the North and the East which is 19.12 per cent of the Island’s school population. The Government and Ministry of Education allocate resources from the Treasury to cover all teacher salaries, including salaries of the Ministry staff of the North and East and provide free school uniform materials and textbooks. Since there are no private schools in Kilinochchi, Mannar and Vavuniya in the Northern district and Ampara and Trincomalee in the East, all the primary and secondary education is provided free by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry also provides free tertiary education free through universities in Jaffna and Batticaloa.
137. The Government seeks financial support … so that all children are able to attend school and therefore not be recruited.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2008, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in the section on children affected by armed conflict, Sri Lanka stated:
336. The Action Plan for Children Affected by War was a multi-sectoral programme drawn up in 2003 during the period following the Ceasefire Agreement. … The Action Plan included provision for … education. …
343. The Government has established a dedicated centre for “child surrendees”, the Ambepussa Rehabilitation Centre. Around 90 children have been through the centre, with 25 currently in residence. The CGR has developed a policy framework for the rehabilitation of “child surrendees” in collaboration with the NCPA [National Child Protection Authority]. Accordingly they are provided with vocational training, language and literacy skills …
345. The Government is finalizing an amendment to Emergency Regulations to deal with the situation of child surrendees – Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulation No. 1 of 2005. The amendment will provide for the establishment of Protective Child Accommodation Centres and Protective Child Rehabilitation Centres, the latter to extend … vocational training and other services. …
348. As a follow up to Security-Council resolution 1612 and the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on children affected by the conflict, a task force meets regularly under the Secretary [of the] Ministry of Child [D]evelopment to discuss and follow up outstanding issues, particularly in relation to action needed. These include issues such as … access to education.
352. The Government has taken measures to ensure that children affected by conflict are not denied their right to education throughout the entire period of the conflict. Non-formal and “catch up” education programmes have also been conducted. Infrastructure improvements include the constructing of school buildings, toilets and water supply facilities particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. This also included the reactivation of School Attendance Committees. Teachers have been trained in psychosocial counseling.
354. A comprehensive assessment of the education sector needs in the conflict-affected areas was done in 2003. …
355. The Sri Lankan Government adopted several measures to provide extra educational support for displaced children. Catch Up Education (CUE) was one such initiative. Under the Six-Year Provincial Primary Education Plan (1999–2004) of the Northern and Eastern Province (as it then was) teachers were trained in a short orientation programme in CUE. … This programme was expanded and the Vanni Education Rehabilitation Project (VERP) supported by German Government Assistance (GTZ) was launched in 2002.
357. Learning from past experience in CUE, education authorities have with UNICEF support created a new consolidated syllabus specially designed for children who have been out of regular school for up to six months. … Aware of the need for sensitivity to the emotional impact of the conflict on children, their families and teachers, the new curriculum contains a strong psychosocial component.
358. The Human Rights Commission’s National Protection and Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons (NPDS/IDP project) have recently completed a study on the Right to Education of IDPs.
359. The study assesses the situation in six conflict-affected districts, with about 361,060 displaced persons of whom nearly 30 per cent are school-age children, representing 2 per cent of the total student population of the country. The study identifies several problems relating to the education at preschool, primary and secondary levels, and tertiary and higher education.
360. It signals the need for better management of the preschool system by the Provincial Councils and more financial and other resources for the management and supervision of preschools. In primary and secondary education issues highlighted are temporary closure of schools and schools being used as IDP accommodation; high dropout rate due to financial constraints; and child labour and child military recruitment.
361. The study revealed that a number of schools were temporarily closed and some others were occupied by displaced persons, interrupting the education of thousands of children and causing the relocation of hundreds of teachers from their original schools. With the Government taking control of the East measures were quickly put in place with the assistance of INGOs [international NGOs] to bring normalcy to the lives of the displaced. In several affected administrative Divisions children are back in schools with furniture, books and uniforms provided by the Ministry of Education.
362. Where children are affected by the disruption to infrastructure facilities such as water and electricity, the Ministry of Resettlement is putting in place measures to restore these facilities under the Emergency Assistance Programme to the Resettled IDPs in Batticaloa.
363. There are indications that in areas of severe teacher shortage, schools may be resorting to the use of volunteers, at a time when the national policy of the government is to put a stop to the use of untrained teachers. In a bid to address some of these issues, the Eastern Province Education Department is hoping to obtain UNICEF assistance to enhance the quality of education in the East with targeted teacher training programmes including psychosocial interventions for displaced teachers. In Trincomalee the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is supporting a project to Improve School Management to Enhance Quality of Education with Special Reference to Science and Mathematics (ISMEQUE). In more Northern areas the security situation makes it harder to maintain normalcy in schooling. Security concerns particularly regarding travel to and from school have resulted in some children dropping out of school.
364. As the absence of birth certificates was identified as a major obstacle to displaced children gaining admission to schools on relocation, the National Policy on Admissions to Schools was revised to remedy this situation. The policy makes special provision for admission to schools after displacement, by stating that it is not necessary to have a birth certificate for school entry. The school should accept a letter from the village head (the lowest administrative unit in the country) and a certification by the IDP camp that the child has been affected by a disaster, natural or man-made. An affidavit can be submitted to confirm the date of birth.
365. A Needs Assessment of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and World Food Programme (WFP) in 2003 showed 50,000 school aged children as out of school in the North and East, with a 15 per cent dropout rate. Measures have been taken by both government and NGOs to address this situation. Under the WFP’s Food for Education concept which recognizes poverty and lowering of socio-economic status of displaced people as a main cause of school drop-out, about 22,000 children from Grades 1–9 get midday meals.
366. The Mid-Day Meal Programme under the Government’s vision document Mahinda Chintana
also provides mid-day meals to selected schools. Government officials regularly
visit these schools to ensure implementation and reduce further dropouts.
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
End of war and rehabilitation of former child soldiers
70. His Excellency the President, by Regulation dated 12 September 2006, appointed a Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR) who is entrusted with specific responsibilities in relation to all “surrendees” of the ongoing conflict which include adults and children. The CGR now takes the lead in the rehabilitation of “Child Surrendees” and functions under the President’s Office.
72. The CGR is entrusted with the task of providing surrendees with [inter alia] … appropriate vocational, technical or other training. There are at present three such centres. The centre in Ambepussa is for children and women. …
73. The CGR centre at Ambepussa receives surrendees under the age of eighteen years and women. This Centre has been set up by the Government exclusively to care for and reintegrate children leaving armed groups. This rehabilitation process involves … special school education classes and vocational training. …
75. Surrendees have a choice of the following vocational training courses that are provided at the centre, those who had dropped out of school or illiterate are provided with non-formal education. On the completion of such training surrendees are awarded certificates which would help them to obtain employment. Plans are also underway to impart language training …
78. New regulations have been framed under section 5 of the Public Security Ordinance by the President in order to introduce “Child Friendly” procedures and processes related to the surrender and release of children recruited as combatants.
79. Under these regulations the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation in consultation with the District Secretary of any district, the relevant Provincial Commissioner of Probation of Child Care Services and the Chairman, National Child Protection Authority identifies suitable locations for the establishment of the following:
(b) Protective Child Rehabilitation Centres for the purpose of providing … vocational and other training for the facilitation of the process of reintegration of such child into his family, community and into society.
88. The officer in charge of a Protective Child [soldier] Accommodation Centre or protective child [soldier] rehabilitation centre in which such child is placed shall:
(f) Provide the child with education or appropriate vocational, technical and other training with a view to equipping him to pursue a career of his choice.
90. The Regulation … provides access to education and vocational training based on their individual needs and capacities. …
94. Several other measures [were] taken by the Government in association with UNICEF and the NGO Community concerning inter alia, psychosocial support and assistance for children affected by armed conflict and towards ensuring their right to education …
98. As a reflection of the government’s commitment at the highest executive level to combat child recruitment, His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched on 26th February 2009 the joint Government of Sri Lanka and UNICEF Public Awareness Campaign on Child Recruitment …
99. “Bring back the Child” is a multimedia campaign that calls on those who recruit children to stop, and for those children currently in their ranks to be released, so that they can return to their families and have access to services, including … education and vocational training.
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “Half of ex LTTE cadres left custody – Rehabilitation Chief”, which stated:
Following rehabilitation 5,586 LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] cadres have left rehabilitation centres since the end of the war. At the beginning rehabilitation centres held 11,696 LTTE combatants and directed them for various vocation trainings during their rehabilitation progr[a]m, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Susantha Ranasinghe said.
… The Rehabilitation Chief said that out of some 361 child soldiers, who had sat the GCE [General Certificate of Education] (O/L [Ordinary Level]) examination last year, 211 qualified to do GCE (A/L [Advanced Level]).
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “More rehabilitated LTTE cadres to be released”, which stated:
According to Brigadier Ranasinghe there were only nine rehabilitation centres for ex-LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants at present, though there had been 24 at the inception. The Rehabilitation Chief said that of some 361 child soldiers, who had sat the GCE [General Certificate of Education] (O/L [Ordinary Level]) examination last year, 211 qualified to do GCE (A/L [Advanced Level]).
In 2012, in a section entitled “Theme area: Human Rights” of its National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which also includes a section entitled “Theme area: International Humanitarian Law Issues”, Sri Lanka’s Government stated:
9.78, 9.82 – Examine on a case-by-case basis the cases relating to young LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] suspects with a view to instituting legal action without delay or rehabilitating and/or releasing them. Ensure that no sooner than they complete the rehabilitation program, children be allowed to live with their families and assisted to continue their studies or earn a living[.]
This concern has been fully addressed with large numbers pursuing academic activities followed by reunification with their families. …
9.81 – Consider establishing a national, Government led, multidisciplinary task force to develop and implement a comprehensive child-tracing program.
Child conscripts identified, rehabilitated and re-integrated.
In 2012, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Sri Lanka stated:
45. … As of 1 October 2012, 10,985 persons, which included 594 LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] child soldiers have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. … It is to be noted that the child soldiers released were afforded the opportunity of a formal education and restored to their families. 212 youth who were previously pursuing tertiary education were re-inducted into the university system to follow their undergraduate studies. …
46. Particular attention was given to the 594 child soldiers who surrendered. A special rehabilitation programme was organised with assistance from UNICEF. These programmes were carried out at the Child Protection Centre in Poonthottam and the Hindu College in Ratmalana. … Formal education was provided, with classes being conducted for more than 200 students between Grade 8 and Grade 11, and 65 students in the Advanced Level sections. Several 6 month long vocational training programmes were also conducted in subjects including information technology, aesthetics, carpentry, masonry, beauty culture etc. The child beneficiaries were reunited with their families within one year, and 74 came back to Hindu College in Ratmalana to continue the education programmes they had been following.
In 1993, in a statement before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Sudan reported that “education for displaced children had been made available in the form of special schools in the camps”.
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states: “Children orphaned by war or separated from their parents have the right to education in accordance with their own religion and culture.”
In 2011, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Thailand stated:
78. The MOE [Ministry of Education] Regulation on Proof of Admission of Students into Educational Institutions, approved by the Cabinet on 5 July 2005 and its order dated 27 October 2005, require all educational institutions to admit children of school age to study in their institutes, with or without evidence of civil registration, by using birth certificates or letters of certification of birth, or other proof issued by government authorities, or documents permitted by the MOE, or personal history record of the child recorded by parents, caretakers, non-governmental organizations or the children themselves. … The Regulation also requires the MOE to provide suitable education to displaced children fleeing armed conflict, with a view to develop their quality of life and promote peaceful co-existence.
Children in temporary shelters for displaced persons fleeing armed conflict
103. The organization of education for displaced persons fleeing armed conflict has been on-going since 1998, in cooperation with over 10 NGOs. The education provided consists of three levels, namely pre-school, primary and lower secondary (Grade 1–10), and covers a variety of subjects, including Thai, Burmese, Karen, English, science, mathematics, history, geography, sanitation and some others. Evaluation is conducted on a three-year basis. A certificate of completion is issued by the education committee based in the areas in cooperation with the organizations responsible for the curricula. After completion of Grade 10, the children may choose to continue with vocational training, organized by the MOI [Ministry of Interior] in cooperation with UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] and private organizations, to enable them to acquire vocational skills and become self-relian[t] when returning to the country of origin.
104. The MOE is in the process of reviewing various teaching and learning curricula used by NGOs to ensure common standards and consistency with the national curriculum in accordance with the National Education Plan of 2002–2016. The Ministry is also responsible for approving certificates of education issued by NGOs to enable displaced person[s] to further their education, if they so wish, in their country of origin or in the third country.
United States of America
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris
of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].”
United States of America
On 8 May 2006, the US delegation to the Committee against Torture, responded orally to questions regarding US obligations under the 1985 Convention against Torture. On a question concerning juveniles detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, the US Department of Defense Legal Adviser responded:
With respect to Madame Belmir’s question about juveniles detained at Guantanamo and the reason for their detention, there are currently no juvenile detainees at Guantanamo . . . Let me briefly speak about the conditions of detention we provided them while at Guantanamo. After medical tests determined their ages, they were housed in a separate detention facility, separated at a significant distance from the other detainees, and the other detainees were not permitted to have access to them. Indeed, they were housed in a communal facility, rather than cells. They underwent assessments from medical, behavioral, and educational experts to address their needs. Furthermore, we taught them mathematics, English, and reading, and provided daily physical exercise and sports programs.
It is unfortunate that al Qaeda and the Taliban use juveniles as combatants. The United States detains enemy combatants engaged in armed conflict against it and the juveniles were detained to prevent further harm to them and to our forces.
United States of America
In May 2008, in a joint press briefing given in Geneva by the US Ambassador-at-Large and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Detainee Affairs, Department of Defense, the defense representative stated:
In Iraq, for example, we have developed an extensively robust program of a Juvenile Education Center working with the Iraqi government. It’s a separate school, exclusively for those juveniles who have taken part in hostilities and who have been recruited into armed conflict, which is something we very much oppose. And this school in particular has athletic fields; it has a special Iraqi curriculum developed with the Iraqi government for them. We take all measures to encourage as robust a communication with their families as is possible. And our policy is to the maximum extent practicable to not detain a juvenile more than a year.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1999 on children in armed conflicts, the UN Security Council:
… attacks on objects protected under international law, including places that usually have a significant presence of children such as schools … and calls on
all parties concerned to put an end to such practices.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2000 on the protection of children in situations of armed conflict, the UN Security Council reiterated “the importance of ensuring that children continue to have access to basic services during conflict and post-conflict periods, including, inter alia
, education and health care”.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on children and armed conflict, the UN Security Council:
Member States and international organizations to ensure that children affected by armed conflict are involved in all disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, taking into account the specific needs and capacities of girls, and that the duration of these processes is sufficient for a successful transition to normal life, with a particular emphasis on education, including the monitoring, through, inter alia, schools, of children demobilized in order to prevent re-recruitment.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on children and armed conflict, the UN Security Council:
its requests to all parties concerned, including United Nations agencies, funds and programmes as well as financial institutions to ensure that all children associated with armed forces and groups, as well as issues related to children, are systematically included in every disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, taking into account the specific needs and capacities of girls, with a particular emphasis on education, including the monitoring, through, inter alia, schools, of children demobilized in order to prevent re-recruitment and bearing in mind the assessment of best practices, including those contained in paragraph 65 of the report of the Secretary-General [of 10 November 2003].
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Security Council:
all parties concerned to ensure that all peace processes, peace agreements and post-conflict recovery and reconstruction planning have regard for the special needs of women and children … and include specific measures for the protection of civilians including … (iv) the facilitation of early access to education and training.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1999, the UN General Assembly urged all parties involved in Kosovo “to support the efforts of the United Nations Children’s Fund to ensure that all children in Kosovo return to school as soon as possible and to contribute to the rebuilding and repair of schools destroyed or damaged during the conflict in Kosovo”.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on Afghanistan, the UN General Assembly called upon “the Transitional Administration to provide Afghan children with educational and health facilities in all parts of the country, recognizing the special needs of girls, and to ensure their full access to those facilities”.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN General Assembly:
all parties concerned in the region to cease any recruitment, training and use of child soldiers, which are contrary to international law, welcomes the initial steps taken by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers, in particular through education, and urges the Government and all parties to continue their efforts in this context, and to take into account the particular needs of girl ex-combatants.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on assistance to unaccompanied refugee minors, the UN General Assembly:
9. Acknowledges that education is among the most effective initial means of ensuring protection for unaccompanied minors, especially girls, by shielding them from exploitative activities such as child labour, military recruitment or sexual exploitation and abuse;
10. Calls upon
the Secretary-General, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat, the United Nations Children’s Fund, other United Nations organizations and other international organizations to mobilize adequate assistance to unaccompanied refugee minors in the areas of relief, education, recreational activities, health and psychological rehabilitation.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan, the UN General Assembly:
the importance of providing Afghan children with educational and health facilities in all parts of the country, recognizing the special needs of girls, and encourages the Government of Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, to expand those facilities and to promote full and equal access to them by all members of Afghan society.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the 2005 World Summit Outcome, the UN General Assembly stated:
We also reaffirm our commitment to ensure that children in armed conflicts receive timely and effective humanitarian assistance, including education, for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan, the UN General Assembly:
the necessity of providing Afghan children with educational and health facilities in all parts of the country, recognizing the special needs of girls, and encourages the Government of Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, to expand those facilities and to promote full and equal access to them by all members of Afghan society.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, the UN General Assembly noted with concern “the tragic plight of children in conflict situations in Africa, particularly the growing phenomenon of child soldiers, and reiterates the need for post-conflict counselling, rehabilitation and education”.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon States “to implement effective measures for their rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society, in particular through educational measures, taking into account the rights and the specific needs and capacities of girls”.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the situation in Afghanistan, the UN General Assembly:
the necessity of providing Afghan children with educational and health facilities in all parts of the country, recognizing the special needs of girls, strongly condemns terrorist attacks on education facilities, and encourages the Government of Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, to expand these facilities, to train professional staff and to promote full and equal access to them by all members of Afghan society, including in remote areas.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon States “to implement effective measures for their rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society, in particular through educational measures, taking into account the rights and the specific needs and capacities of girls”.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the situation in Afghanistan, the UN General Assembly:
39. Reiterates the necessity of providing Afghan children with educational and health facilities in all parts of the country, …
the special needs of girls, strongly condemns terrorist attacks on education facilities and encourages the Government of Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, to expand these facilities, to train professional staff and to promote full and equal access to them by all members of Afghan society, including in remote areas.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon States “to implement effective measures for their rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society, in particular through educational measures, taking into account the rights and the specific needs and capacities of girls”.
UN Economic and Social Council
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on a supplement to the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, ECOSOC recommended to the UN General Assembly that it adopt a draft resolution that stated, inter alia:
Governments should take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of children and young victims of armed conflicts, in particular by restoring access of those children and youth to health care and education, including through “Education for All” programmes, as well as to put in place effective youth employment strategies to help provide a decent living for young people and to facilitate their reintegration into society.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1999 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights reaffirmed “the importance of special attention for children in situations of armed conflict, particularly in the area of … education”.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the right to education, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged all States to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate obstacles limiting effective access to education, notably by … children affected by armed conflicts”.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the right to education, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged all States to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate obstacles limiting effective access to education, notably by … children affected by armed conflicts”.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
that education is an integral part of the process of demobilization, effective disarmament, rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society of children involved in armed conflicts, and that it is a means of facilitating a return to normality for such children and is a key protection measure against re-recruitment by parties to armed conflict as well as against sexual abuse and exploitation and other rights violations.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the right to education, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged all States to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate obstacles limiting effective access to education, notably by … children affected by armed conflicts”.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on abduction of children in Africa, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon African States:
To take adequate measures to prevent the abduction and recruitment of children by armed forces and armed groups and their participation in hostilities, through, inter alia, … practical measures such as … access to education … vocational training and employment.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee
In 1997, in its Conclusion on Refugee Children and Adolescents, the UNHCR Executive Committee called upon States and relevant parties “to respect and observe rights and principles that are in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law [including] … (iii) the right of children and adolescents to education”.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee
In 2007, in its Conclusion on Children at Risk, the UNHCR Executive Committee recommended the following for States, the UNHCR and other relevant agencies and partners:
Encourage the inclusion of all children in education programmes and strengthen children’s capacities, including by enabling their equal access to quality education for girls and boys in all stages of the displacement cycle and in situations of statelessness; promote learning and school environments that are safe, do not perpetuate violence, and promote a culture of peace and dialogue; designate child-friendly spaces in camp and urban environments; and promote access to post-primary education wherever possible and appropriate, life-skills and vocational trainings for adolescents and support recreational activities, sports, play and cultural activities.
In 2000, in his report on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, the UN Secretary-General stated: “Violations of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and of Article 4 of Additional Protocol II thereto committed in an armed conflict not of an international character have long been considered customary international law.”
UN Expert on the Situation of Children in Armed Conflict
In 1996, in a report on the impact of armed conflict on children, the UN Expert on the Situation of Children in Armed Conflict recommended that, with respect to education, “all possible efforts should be made to maintain education systems during conflicts”, including “outside of formal school buildings” and in camps for displaced persons.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1995, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions reported that in some of the camps for displaced persons in northern Burundi, “a number of NGOs have attempted to provide some minimum educational facilities”.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1996, in a report on the situation of human rights in Zaire, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights recommended that the government establish resettlement programmes for IDPs, with special emphasis on the provision of education for children.
UN Secretary-General (Representative)
In 1997, in a report on his visit to Mozambique, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons noted that “as regards education, displaced children were to some extent accommodated within the existing school system”, but that “education was severely interrupted and the quality remained poor for a number of years”.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1993, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly urged member States “to supply children in the former Yugoslavia affected by the conflict with a minimum of education and the educational and play materials (books, toys, etc.) which is vital for children’s development”.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation on the former Yugoslavia adopted in 1994, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly stated that children and students who had been moved outside the areas of fighting should, “as far as possible, … be able to continue their education in refugee camps or at least in the neighbourhood, where tuition in their own language can more easily be provided”.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent requested that all the parties to an armed conflict take effective measures to ensure that “children receive the special protection, care and assistance, including access to education and recreational facilities, to which they are entitled under national and international law”.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
In 1995, in discussing the question of children and armed conflict, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recalled that provisions essential for the realization of the rights of the child included access to education.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
In 1997, in its concluding observations on the report of Uganda, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concerns “about the difficulties encountered … by displaced children in securing access to basic education” and recommended that Uganda pay special attention to “internally displaced children to ensure that they have equal access to basic facilities”.
UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
In 1999, in its General Comment on Article 13 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights held: “Education has to be within safe physical reach, either by attendance at some reasonably convenient geographic location … or via modern technology.” It also held: “States parties have immediate obligations in relation to the right to education, such as the ‘guarantee’ that the right ‘will be exercised without discrimination of any kind’ and the obligation ‘to take steps’ towards the full realization of article 13.”
According to the Committee, States must also “fulfil (provide) the availability of education by actively developing a system of schools, including building classrooms, delivering programmes, providing teaching materials and training teachers”.
European Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in the Cyprus case
in 2001, the European Court of Human Rights found that “there has been a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 [to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (right to education)] in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus in so far as no appropriate secondary-school facilities were available to them”.
Council of Delegates (1991)
At its Budapest Session in 1991, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on child soldiers in which it invited National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies “to do everything possible to protect children during armed conflicts, particularly by … organizing educational activities for them”.