Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law



Articles

THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES: MAKING MORE ROOM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN OCCUPATION LAW


Jonathan Thompson Horowitz  1

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Abstract

This article explores the compatibilities and tensions between the human right to education and occupation law. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion stating that Occupying Powers must extend their international human rights treaty obligations to the people in the territories they occupy. This finding reaffirmed what many human rights and occupation law scholars and judicial and quasi-judicial bodies have long claimed. While occupation law and human rights law are largely compatible tensions between the two can arise however. This is not surprising given the basic premises that each body of law is based upon. While occupation law largely works to restrict the occupant from tampering with the laws and institutions of the occupied territory, there are significant portions of human rights law that work hard to press states to amend or change laws and develop infrastructure to accommodate the welfare of their populations. This tension is not merely theoretical. It has been the case since at least World War I that occupants have taken an interest in making changes to the education of youth and educational institutions in the territory they control. Relying primarily on the core obligations of the right to education, this study looks at the extraterritorial and positive human rights obligations that occupants have with regard to the primary education of children inside an occupied territory. It also sets out an approach that helps mediate the areas where the two are less than compatible.

(Published Online January 31 2007)


Key Words: Occupation law; law of occupation; economic, social and cultural rights; right to education; core obligations; international humanitarian law; extraterritorial; human rights; occupying power; occupied territories.


Footnotes

1 Human rights officer for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS); LL.M., International Human Right Law, University of Essex (UK); B.A., Political Science, Bates College (USA). This paper is based on the author's LL.M. dissertation, which was authored under the helpful supervision and guidance of Professor Françoise Hampson. The author is also grateful to Avril McDonald for her valuable comments and suggestions. The author takes full responsibility for the content of this paper.