UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has strongly condemned the armed attack on Garissa University College in Kenya that occurred on 2 April 2015 and has cost the lives of at least 70 students, resulting in a large number of casualties.
At a time when operations were still ongoing to lift the siege on the University, the Director-General stated that “this vicious attack against an institution of higher learning is a deliberate attack against the future of a country, against the ambition of students to gain the qualifications to pursue a career and contribute to their nation. It is the quest for knowledge, the freedom to think critically and to question the world– the hallmarks of a university – that is under threat. I call for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice, and extend my heartfelt condolences to the Government of Kenya, and to the students, faculty and families who have been affected by this tragedy. UNESCO stands firmly with the Government of Kenya to protect education and to ensure that youth can benefit from access to quality learning opportunities at all levels.”
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.