The Abidjan Principles | Adoption Conference | Ensuring the Right to Education

February 13, 2019 | Jai Brunner

On 12-13 February 2019, human rights and education experts from around the world will meet in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at the Adoption Conference of the Abidjan Principles. They will review the final text of the Principles, following which, the Principles will be adopted. The Abidjan Principles are a set of guiding principles aimed at ensuring that States guarantee the right to education, during a time where private actors are increasingly more involved in the delivery of education.


CLPR Executive Director and Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari is a Member of the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee has been meeting since June 2018 to lead the drafting of the Principles to be presented at the Adoption Conference. The Committee has drafted the Principles on the basis of a series of consultations with experts and practitioners, which began in 2016.



The Abidjan Principles are guiding principles, which aim to “clarify existing legal obligations that States have regarding the delivery of education, and in particular the role and limitations of private actors in the provision of education”. They will serve as a “reference point” for States and private actors when they debate their “respective roles and duties” in delivering education. The Principles are based on the existing human rights framework on education and will serve to “compile and unpack” existing legal obligations established by international human rights law.


The Abidjan Principles can be considered soft law instruments. They will not be legally binding as States will not formally agree to be bound by them. Nevertheless, they will carry considerable legal and political weight because they will serve as a benchmark for assessing the delivery of education. Therefore, they can both serve to reform existing domestic law and as a means to improve accountability for human rights violations.


Following the Adoption Conference, the text of the Abidjan Principles will be made available online in both English and French.  Further, the text will be accompanied by commentary and resources. The aim is to make the Abidjan Principles accessible to not only human rights experts, but also to teachers, education providers and government officials.



The above post summarizes information available on The Abidjan Principles website.

Jai Brunner


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