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Protecting Education

International Law Handbook

In September 2012, BIICL published Protecting Education in Insecurity and Armed Conflict: An International Law Handbook (the Handbook). This Handbook is a practical and comprehensive guide to the relevant provisions of international law that protect education in situations of insecurity and armed conflict.

The Handbook was authored by BIICL and was the culmination of a year-long research project commissioned by Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), a programme of the Education Above All foundation (EAA). PEIC is a Qatar-based policy, research, and advocacy organisation concerned with protecting the right to education in insecurity and conflict. For further information please see PEIC's website.

The publication of this resource is a meaningful step within the longer process towards ensuring the protection of education during insecurity and armed conflict. Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE, QC considers this publication to be:

"an unusual and important Handbook ... [offering] depth and conceptual clarity".

PEIC and BIICL hope that this publication will be widely utilised by those in the legal community with an interest in protecting against violations of the right to education and other associated provisions of international law.

The Handbook fills a gap in the legal literature by examining how international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law protect education during situations of insecurity and armed conflict. It is in these situations that the protection of education is most at risk and when relevant international law provisions require increased attention, focus, accessibility, and implementation. It examines the provisions of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law directly relevant to education in insecurity and armed conflict. The Handbook also explains other provisions of international law that protect students and educational staff, and educational facilities. Finally, the Handbook also introduces some of the international and regional legal mechanisms that can be used to obtain reparation for such violations.

Copies of the 2012 Handbook and a Summary written specifically for non-legal audiences are available here:

Braille and audio versions of the Summary are also available on request.

The Handbook was formally launched on 21 September 2012 in New York City. Some information about this event can be found here.

To find out more about this project, or to provide comments and feedback on the Handbook or to use the Braille or audio versions of the Summary, please contact Kristin Hausler.

Teaching Material

In order to facilitate the teaching of the content of our research on the protection of education, BIICL has developed in cooperation with PEIC two documents which may be used freely by law professors and lecturers. These documents include a PowerPoint presentation and accompanying notes which may be used to teach a two to three hour class. The content covers the protection under international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law. It is suitable for any international law class and may be adapted to suit different knowledge levels.

Protection of Education - Teaching Notes

Protection of Education - Presentation Slides

New Developments

Since the publication of the Handbook in 2012, there have been new developments in the protection of education in insecurity and armed conflict under international law. In order to keep the Handbook current, BIICL and PEIC will publish yearly briefs containing relevant updates in that area.

The 2015 developments are available to download here:

The 2014 developments are available to download here:

The 2013 developments are available to download here:

Domestic Implementation Project

In July 2015, BIICL and PEIC initiated a follow-up research Study, in order to analyse the domestic implementation of the international legal frameworks protecting education in insecurity and armed conflict. The Study, which covers the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, will focus in particular on Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon.

This report was finalised in June 2016 and its Executive Summary is available here:

The full report is available here:

In January 2017, a workshop will be organised in Doha (Qatar) to allow regional stakeholders to discuss its key findings.

Related Research Projects

Following the publication of the Handbook, BIICL undertook a study of reparations for education-related violations in insecurity and armed conflict. Published in 2013, this Report on Education and the Law of Reparations in Insecurity and Armed Conflict, is available here and you can find out more about this work on the project webpage.

In addition to the research undertaken by BIICL on the topic, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights has also completed a study of the practice and contribution of UN human rights mechanisms to the protection of education in times of insecurity and armed conflict. This study is available here

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