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Compendium of Regional and International Legal Instruments on Girl's and Women's Education
Commission of the African Union Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology
The international legal framework on girls and women’s education is enshrined in a wide range of international and regional agreements and other legal instruments. International agreements are commonly called treaties in the context of international law. Depending on the nature and purpose of a treaty, it can also be referred to as a Covenant, Convention, Charter, Accord, Protocol or Agreement. A treaty is generally a legally binding instrument, which means that the implementation of the obligations undertaken by its state parties can be enforced by international law. Nevertheless, this engagement must have the express consent of the parties to the treaty. A state can become a party to a treaty by ratification, accession or succession. Ratification is the formal consent of the state to be bound by the obligations expressed in the legal instrument.The effect of accession is similar to ratification, the difference being in the process (countries that have not signed a treaty prior to its coming into force, accede to a treaty rather than ratify it). A state may also become a party to a treaty by succession, when there is a specific provision in the legal instrument, or by a declaration. States can similarly make reservations to a treaty. This means that the state which ratifies the treaty does not agree to be bound by specific provisions in the legal instrument. This can only be done, however, if the reservations do not defeat the purpose or the object of the treaty. Other international instruments that are not inherently legally binding, such as international declarations, proclamations, standard rules, guidelines, recommendations and principles, also provide a legal framework for the realization of girls and women’s education. Notwithstanding their non- binding nature, states are expected to adhere to them out of a moral obligation to the international community and to their own citizens. Regardless, of the form which the legal protection takes, be it Treaty, Covenant, Declaration, or Guidelines issued by the State, these instruments are designed to protect and promote the rights of the girl child to education. They are key tools in demarcating and defending the parameters of that space. This is a Compendium of existing legal instruments on inclusive approach towards girls and women’s education and institutions responsible for the implementation of the right-based and inclusive approach. It aims to provide an accessible reference for research on international law relating to girls and women’s education. It is organized to present information about a significant number of international legal instruments that affect girls and young women in terms of retention at school, quality of education and lifelong learning. These legal instruments are organized by international and regional origin, relevance and their binding nature. The list of instruments is not exhaustive; for example, some bilateral and multilateral agreements are not included. The Compendium provides a summary and only relevant texts of the instrument on education for ease of reference. For detailed reading of the consolidated instruments, one can visit the website or link provided to download the full text.The entries are extracts from the original texts and can therefore be cited as such.
Commission of the African Union Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology