7 March 2016 13:51

From torture and labour rights violations to restrictions on academic freedom, allegations of human rights violations have proved a challenge to efforts in the transnational provision of education.


But universities engaging in extending their programmes to other countries risk more than their reputation. They may also entail legal risks in their home country. 

International law researchers at Lancaster University Law School have highlighted how domestic public oversight mechanisms can extend to overseas education programme bringing with them human rights standards and obligations.

Their work highlights the need for robust due diligence and accountability mechanisms in the provision of education in other countries.

As the field grows in commercial significance, the research team say domestic human rights obligations must be proactively considered and asserted otherwise they risk finding themselves morally and legally compromised. 

A paper published today in the International journal of Human Rights, co-authored by Academic Fellow Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn and Professor of Human Rights Law Sigrun Skogly, both from Lancaster University, used, as a case study, Ireland's controversial accreditation of an Irish branch campus in Bahrain, an issue that is about to be considered as part of Ireland's review in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

The paper examines human rights concerns associated with the rapidly expanding field of transnational education an activity frequently reliant on interstate cooperation.

By re-examining the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights the legal obligations of countries providing public oversight of overseas programmes are explored.  

Research behind the paper entitled ‘Understanding Human Rights Obligations of States Engaged in Public Activity Overseas: The Case of Transnational Education’ will inform a stakeholder submission in Ireland’s Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council later this year.