On 16 December, 2014, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her outrage and distress following the attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, that has cost the lives of some 100 children.
“Less than a week after Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, this heinous attack is a crime against the future of all children and the nation of Pakistan. It is a crime against learning and against innocence, committed in the very place where children come each day to open their minds - their own school. Terror will not silence the millions of voices around the world that are demanding education to be a right and for schools to be safe. We will not let fear nor terror have the upper hand.”
“I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends who have lost their close of kin in this tragedy and call on the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice.”
“On this occasion, UNESCO stands firmly with the Government of Pakistan in its commitment to ensure the right of every girl and boy to a quality education.”
UNESCO’s commitment to stand up for the protection of the right to education during conflict has been reaffirmed on several occasions recently, including through the recently released Guidance Note on the Implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1998 ("attacks on schools and hospitals"), which calls on Member States to prevent attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as their military use. As a member of the Global Coalition to Protect Education From Attack, UNESCO is acting across the world to protect schools and the right to education in countries affected by conflict.