‘Education is a human right,’ group reiterates on Human Rights Day

December 10, 2020 - 8:13 PM
This Jan. 2020 photo shows a protest staged by E-Net Philippines (E-Net Philippines/Facebook)

On International Human Rights Day, a civil society network for education reforms urged the national government to fulfill its commitment in providing education that is inclusive for all.

The International Human Rights Day was established in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where the 30 articles of fundamental human rights and freedoms are stated.

In a statement on Thursday, E-Net Philippines, a network of a network of organizations that advocate for quality education, stressed that quality education is also a human right and that no one should be left behind from receiving it, especially out-of-school youth.

It cited that the Philippines still ranks high in the number of out-of-school youth across countries in Southeast Asia.

“There is still the unresolved problem of ‘those left behind in education’ such as the out-of-school children, youth and adults (OSYCA), indigenous people, learners with disabilities, Muslim learners, members of LGBTQIA+, children and youth in conflict and emergency situations, and those in the “last mile school” (far-flung) areas,” it added.

In line with the celebration of the human rights day, the group called on the government to revisit its goals and commitment in providing “education for all” despite the still raging novel coronavirus pandemic.

It also noted that the health crisis affected various aspects of people’s lives, including the education, safety, and well-being of students and teachers.

“We call on the government to fulfill its commitment in providing inclusive, equitable, safe, and quality education especially in this time of pandemic. The provision of equal opportunities, universal access, and enforceable and monitored quality standards for education must be thoughtfully embedded,” E-Net Philippines said.

“We also call on fellow Filipinos to join us in advancing education as a human right,” it added.

The organization also highlighted how education empowers people to exercise and fight for their human rights.

“Education is not a privilege. It is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realizing other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment. Education allows individuals to exercise all their rights. The right to education has been recognized as a human right in a number of international laws and conventions and by the Philippine Constitution,” it said.

Human Rights Day 2020

The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is “Recover Better: Stand Up For Human Rights” in relation to the need to ensure that human rights are preserved in recovery efforts.

“The global COVID-19 crisis has been fueled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover to a world that is better and more resilient, just and sustainable,” the statement from UN said.

In the Philippines, various progressive groups such as Anakbayan, Karapatan, Gabriela and Anakbayan convened along Mendiola Street in Manila to protest their grievances against the numerous killings and alleged illegal arrests of activists and critics under the Duterte administration.