Article 2 of Protocol No 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms provides that “No person shall be denied the right to education”. In addition, under Article 17.1.a. of the European Social Charter (revised), the Parties must “ensure that children and young persons (…) have (…) the education and the training they need” to ensure the effective exercise of their right to grow up in an environment which encourages the full development of their personality and of their physical and mental capacities.
In spite of these texts, in European States, some of the most disadvantaged children, in particular undocumented children (often children who have been abandoned by their families and are living in the street, but also Roma children and refugee children), are denied the right of access to school in de facto terms. This robs them of any chance of taking their place in society, whether in the countries where they were born, in host countries or elsewhere, or of living there in dignity.
The Parliamentary Assembly should study the practical measures which Council of Europe member States and the Council of Europe itself could take to eliminate all the obstacles to access to education and make sure that State schools cater for all children.