The Safe Schools Declaration: Committing to Protect Education from Attack during Armed Conflict
This side event organized within the World Humanitarian Summit aims to raise awareness about the scale and impact of attacks against students, educational facilities and staff during armed conflict. The event will also provide a review of how education is protected under international humanitarian law and the key challenges for ensuring such protection in practice.
The impact of armed conflict on education presents urgent humanitarian, development and wider social challenges. Between 2009 and 2013, attacks on school children, students, teachers, academics and educational institutions have occurred in more than 70 countries. Such attacks include the bombing, shelling and burning of schools and universities, and the killing, injuring, abduction or arbitrary arrest of students and teachers. Educational facilities are also regularly used for military purposes by governmental armed forces and security forces, and by armed non-state groups, putting them at risk of attacks and jeopardizing access to education in conflict situations.
To reduce the impact of conflict on education, on 29 May 2015, States adopted The Safe Schools Declaration. More than fifty States have endorsed this political declaration, and thereby committed themselves to work together to strengthen the protection of educational facilities, their students and staff from attack. Signatories include States from all global regions, including several of the States currently most affected by violence against education and other States in a position to assist in addressing this problem.
During this panel discussion hosted by Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, Mr. Forest Whitaker and Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO will speak about the scale and impact of attacks on educational facilities, their students and staff.