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20 Dec 2023

Call for contributions: academic freedom and freedom of expression in educational institutions

Issued by: Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Deadline: 02 February 2024

Purpose: To inform the Special Rapporteur’s annual thematic report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2024.


For her upcoming report to the Human Rights Council to be presented in June 2024, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Ms. Farida Shaheed, will consider academic freedom and freedom of expression in educational institutions.

The report will build on previous work achieved by other United Nations human rights mechanisms on the topic, particularly the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. While recognizing that there is no single, exclusive international human rights framework for the subject, Ms. Shaheed will consider academic freedom through the right to education framework. More precisely, the report intends to consider academic freedom as part of the entitlement to receive and provide quality education, at all levels of education.

The Special Rapporteur intends to take stock of setbacks and progress both under international human rights law and in domestic legislation and practice with respect to defining academic freedom, ensuring its enjoyment by all relevant actors and protecting it from attacks and interferences.


The report will examine existing legal frameworks and normative content of academic freedom as a human right. It will consider subjects and duty bearers of this right. It will also analyze, from a human rights perspective, direct and indirect attacks on and interferences with respect to academic freedom of staff and students, including through commercialization, online surveillance, funding, conditions of work and studies and other pertinent issues.

Key questions and types of input sought

The Special Rapporteur is inviting input from States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, national human rights institutions, academics, scientists, educators, as well as civil society organizations.

How inputs will be used

All inputs received will be posted on the OHCHR website. Please indicate if you have any objections regarding to your reply being posted on the OHCHR website.

Next Steps

Inputs should be sent by e-mail no later than 2 February 2024, 18:00 CET.

Email address:

Email subject line: Contribution: Academic freedom

Word limit: 3,000 words

File format: Word

Accepted languages: English, French, Spanish

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