Armed conflict constitutes one of the most devastating barriers to education. Schools and universities – places to foster development and peace - are attacked by extremists to spread fear and indoctrinate new recruits. In the midst of such chaos, children, students and teachers are denied their right to access quality education.
In the majority of countries with armed conflict military use of schools and other education institutions remain a constant feature of war.
To document these gross violations, UNESCO commissioned a study in 2007 entitled Education under Attack. The aims of this ground-breaking work were to detail the incidence of attacks on schools, teachers and students and to draw attention to the need for concerted action to stop them.
Subsequently, UNESCO published Education under Attack 2010 and Protecting Education from Attack: A State-of-the-Art Review. It also convened publication launches (Paris, Geneva, New York), an international expert seminar and several follow-up meetings which have led to the creation of the inter-agency ‘Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack’ (GCPEA).
UNESCO is a core member of GCPEA and remains committed to raising awareness and contributing to policy dialogue; deepening research on effective prevention and response strategies; translating evidence into programmatic action; strengthening monitoring and reporting of violations; and encouraging compliance with existing normative instruments that prohibit violent attacks on the right to education.
UNESCO warmly welcomes the launch of the Safe Schools Declaration, a political and practical initiative to reduce the impact of conflict on education. The declaration is endorsed by 51 states and acts as an instrument for states to support and implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.
UNESCO remains committed to support the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1998 and Protect Schools + Hospitals. Guidance Note on Security Council Resolution 1998 are key tools to protect schools from attack.
Related link: Education in Emergencies
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