Three European organisations advocating human rights and freedom in education – ALLI asbl (Luxemboug), Les Enfants d’Abord (France), and Full Human Rights-Experience Education – as well as independent philosopher, Bertrand Stern, have come together to write a letter to the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe.
They are concerned that freedom of education is jeopardized in France, further to the draft law n°3649 confirming the respect for the principles of the Republic.
Claiming to be fighting radicalisation – but without providing any evidence – the French government first intended to restrict home schooling to very limited cases and also limit the establishment of alternative schools not fitting their educational standards. They had to soften their initial plans after a review of the State Council. Nevertheless this draft law still could substantially weaken freedom of education as a fundamental right along with others like freedom of association.
In December 2020, the Council of Europe already summoned France to change article 24 of its draft law on global security as it was putting freedom of press at stake.
This letter to the Commissioner for Human rights aims to be a reminder that education should be liberation and not an imposition. The signatories call for support within this French authoritarian context as a moral duty, and stress that the arguments of this letter are worth considering in any country.