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The Procedure of UNESCO

Protected Main Rights

The rights falling under UNESCO’s competence of which the Articles are mentioned below refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948:

  • Right to education (Article 26)
  • Right to participate in cultural life and to share scientific advancement (Article 27)
  • Right to information, including freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19)
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18)
  • Right to freedom of association (Article 20) 

Individual Complaints (Procedure of 104 EX/ Decision 3.3)

Individuals, groups of individuals and NGOs can submit an individual complaint to the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations of UNESCO if they are direct victims or if they have a sufficient connection to the claimed violation. The protected persons are teachers, students, researchers, artists, writers and journalists. The procedure is confidential from the beginning to the end.

First of all, the complaint requires to write a short letter, in English or French, stating violations on Human Rights protected by UNESCO to the following adress:

Director of the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs of UNESCO
7 place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
Fax : +33(0)1 45 68 55 75


The Secretariat will then send to the author of the letter a form to be completed which constitutes his or her communication and which will be transmitted to the government concerned and examined by UNESCO’s Committee on Conventions and Recommendations. 

It is only after the return of the form to UNESCO that a communication is officially taken into consideration. For being admissible, a communication must meet the following conditions:

  • must not be anonymous
  • must not be manifestly ill-founded and must be accompanied by sufficient evidence
  • must not constitute an abuse of the right to submit communications
  • must not be based exclusively on information disseminated through the mass media
  • must be submitted within a reasonable time limit following the facts or the knowledge of the alleged facts
  • must indicate whether attempts have been made to exhaust available all domestic remedies and what these decisions by national jurisdiction are.

The Committee examines communications in private session. The State concerned can be heard. Later, the Committee informs the State and the author of the communication of its decision. That decision is not subject to appeal, but can be re-examined if new information are received. Officially, that procedure was several times successful, despite its confidentiality.

For more information on the individual complaint procedure:

African States Concerned

The procedure of individual complaints is not based on a particular Convention, but on the constitutional authority inherent to UNESCO: The 193 Member States of the UNESCO must submit to this procedure. Among them are all countries of the African continent (with the exception of Western Sahara).

Last change: 14.01.10 - 18:32