Education International
Education International

Prof. Katarina Tomasevski, the first-ever United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, died October 4, 2006 in Copenhagen. She was 52.

published 10 October 2006 updated 10 October 2006

"All of us at Education International wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Katarina’s family, friends and colleagues around the world," said General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.

"We will never forget the tremendous energy and passion she brought to the defense of human rights, especially the right to education. When the dream of free, accessible, quality public education for all finally becomes a reality, it will be in no small measure because of the work of Katarina Tomasevski."

Tomasevski, a Harvard-trained lawyer, completed her PhD at University of Zagreb on the theme of Terrorism and Contemporary International Law. Her subsequent research covered a vast array of topics including women’s and children’s rights, the right to food, children in prison, development aid and human rights, HIV/AIDS and human rights, and denial of the right to education. She served as UN Special Rapporteur from 1998 to 2004, during which time she established the Right to Education Project.

A multi-linguist, Tomasevski lived in more than a dozen countries throughout her illustrious career and worked around the world. She taught, wrote and published widely. Her Handbook on CEDAW, the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, was recently updated and reprinted.

Tomasevski’s latest work is entitled The State of the Right to Education Worldwide: Free or Fee. 2006 Global Report. At 280 pages, it offers a comprehensive look at the shortcomings of global educational promises and examines how the right to education fares in 170 countries.

"The Report highlights the abyss between domestic policies of wealthy creditor and donor governments which keep compulsory education free, and their external policies which have made it for-fee," she wrote. Tomasevski’s web site warns that the report will make education advocates angry. It’s a righteous anger she clearly wants to spark into action. Her final challenge to us all: "Read the Report. Get angry. Help exposing and opposing economic exclusion for education."

To read Tomasevski’s full report, go to: www.katarinatomasevski.com For more on the right to education, go to: www.right-to-education.org