By Aliya Yagudina, Intern in SNDatUN Office
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948, was heralded as an international Magna Carta for all humanity by the then-Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt. For the first time in human history, one single document comprised all unalienable rights of human beings, most of which in the course of time have been incorporated in national constitutions of the majority of the UN member states. The Declaration that consists 30 articles of core principles of human rights promotes the equal fundamental rights for all mankind everywhere in the world, and is a powerful instrument for the achievement of peace for all nations.
Personally, I found it challenging to select one article of my choice in such comprehensive list of fundamental freedoms and human rights: right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, to nationality, to maternal assistance, right to leave a country, to marry with full consent, to name a few. Nevertheless, the right to education, from my prospective, is essential for achieving all other human rights, and promoting individual rights and personal freedoms. Article 26 (1) states that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”
Access to basic education is an incontestable necessity for people of all nations at all ages. Deprivation or lack of educational opportunities is an indication of intergenerational cycle of poverty, inequality, abuse and oppression. Acquired knowledge and skills are the main tools in hands of educated persons to stay out of poverty, to improve their standards of living, fight diseases, reduce inequalities, empower women, and contribute greatly in a better world for the sake of future generations.
Education is a key factor for sustainable development and economic growth of a nation and, therefore, the globe, and a great power that can transform society for the better, towards brighter future for all humankind.