Education International
Education International

Schools must remain safe sanctuaries

published 25 March 2009 updated 25 March 2009

The Executive Board of Education International unanimously adopted a declaration calling on the international community, governments, and all parties to conflicts to recognise and respect the right of all children and adults to a safe education in a peaceful environment, and to respect education institutions as safe sanctuaries.

The international community, governments, and all parties to conflicts should reaffirm their commitment to the principle of right to education in safety, take practical measures to ensure protection, monitor attacks and end impunity, prioritise action and share expertise on resilience and recovery, make education an agent for peace, and support campaigns of solidarity.

EI will urge the United Nations Security Council “to commission the creation of an international symbol for use on education buildings and education transport facilities to encourage recognition that they should be treated as safe sanctuaries and should not be targeted.”

“Governments should set a condition of adherence to human rights norms, particularly the right to education and protection of both the education institutions and the process of education, when entering trade or aid agreements with parties to a conflict,” the Declaration states.

EI’s Executive Board calls on the international community, governments and human rights organisations “to develop means of gathering information to aid the monitoring and analysis of the frequency, scale, and nature of violent military and political attacks against the school community.”

The Declaration will also cover attacks in schools by armed students, as has been the case for example in Winnenden, Germany, in Kauhajoki, Finland, or in Colombine, USA.

EI also reminds governments of their responsibility to ensure early diagnosis and care of psychological problems among young people, especially if their problems may lead to violent attacks on teachers or their peers.