The Right to Education for Humanity

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This article begins by briefly surveying relevant international human rights law concerning the right to education and critiques its failure to guarantee children an education which is free from parental and/or religious domination. It then makes a positive case for guaranteeing children the right to ‘education for humanity’, meaning an education which equips them to be citizens of the world rather than captives of a particular creed, view of history or community tradition. It argues that conflicts could be reduced if schools were to focus on conveying an understanding of a wide range of beliefs and cultures. The piece then tests this position by considering the current education system in Northern Ireland, looking at six dimensions to the ongoing influence of religion on that system. It makes some suggestions for reform and ends with a more general proposal for a guaranteed right to education for humanity worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-432
Number of pages24
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Professor of International and Comparative Law ( and PhD candidate in the School of Law ( respectively.


  • Education
  • Education in divided societies
  • Education law
  • International Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Northern Ireland
  • Children's Rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Law


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