Skip to main content

Press releases Special Procedures

UNESCO: Right to education demands financial commitment says UN expert

20 January 2023

GENEVA (20 January 2022) – The right to education demands robust financial commitment from States in addition to political commitment, a UN expert said today.

“The right to education for all will remain an empty promise unless adequate financial resources are available to UNESCO, the international agency leading education, as well as in all national budgets,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Farida Shaheed, at the end of a five-day official visit to UNESCO.

Shaheed stressed that States have the primary responsibility of ensuring the right to education. She expressed concern at the growing role of the commercial sector in both international and national arenas.

“In our post-Covid era, the digitalisation of education should not be at the expense of children and other learners through data-mining for example”, Shaheed said. She commended UNESCO on initiating much-needed discussions on necessary paradigm shifts in how education is conceptualised, realised and assessed in a way that is meaningful to address today’s realities.

“The right to education is a right to life-long learning. Beyond issues of availability and access, we must ensure quality, relevant content, nurturing a sense of global citizenship, spaces for open discussions as well as respect for diversity, inclusion, and human rights,” the UN expert said.

“I was very pleased to have explored areas for potential synergies, complementarities and future collaborations between UNESCO and my mandate,” Shaheed said.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a full report on her visit to the Human Rights Council in June 2023.


Ms Farida Shaheed took office as Special Rapporteur on the right to education on 1 August 2022 following her appointment by the Human Rights Council. She is the Executive Director of Pakistan’s leading gender justice organization, Shirkat Gah - Women’s Resource Centre. She is also an independent expert/consultant to numerous U.N., international and bi-lateral development agencies, the government of Pakistan, as well as civil society initiatives, and serves on multiple international and national advisory committees. She served as a member of Pakistan’s National Commission on the Status of Women, and as the first Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights from 2009 to 2015.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:

Mylène Bidault
([email protected])

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact

Maya Derouaz
([email protected]) or

Dharisha Indraguptha
([email protected]

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter: @UN_SPExperts.

Concerned about the world we live in?
Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today.
and visit the web page at