Students and school personnel in extreme danger in High Conflict Regions

published 11 June 2019 updated 11 June 2019

New data shows thousands of attacks on schools, mostly by military and other armed forces. This continuing epidemic of violence in regions of armed conflict demonstrates the vital and ongoing need to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

Armed attacks continue according to new data

On May 28-29 2019, at the Third International Conference on Safe Schools in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, researchers presented new data from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. It showed that over the last five years, 14,000 armed attacks took place affecting education personnel in 34 high-conflict countries.

The data also showed that, of the 14,000 attacks,10,000 were directly on schools – buildings were bombed, damaged and used by military forces. It is clear that in many situations, students and school personnel were privileged targets. Such attacks and the fear that they generate make quality education difficult if not impossible.

The Safe Schools Declaration

Education International calls upon all countries to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, a commitment to end the targeting of education institutions by government forces. The declaration, first available in May 2015 for endorsement in Oslo, Norway, talks about making an effort to investigate violations of international humanitarian law, promoting ‘conflict-sensitive’ approaches to education and offers guidelines for States. These guidelines are aimed at governments in zones of conflict and stresses insulating education institutions from conflict and protecting students and staff in schools and universities from military intervention.

The Safe Schools Declaration represents a political determination and commitment to ensure that schools are safe. To date, 87 countries have signed the Safe Schools Declaration. EI urges all other countries to join in this global drive to protect the world’s youth.

Photo Credit: Ivy Dawned