With Paris and Beirut coming to terms with the devastating attacks last week, the Education International Executive Board made clear its position condemning the terrorism, and expressed its full support for its unions in countries where violence is a constant reality.
Read the statement in full here:
The Executive Board of Education International, meeting in Brussels from 16th – 19th November, 2015, wishes to convey its sincere condolences to all of those affected by recent terrorist attacks, but especially those in Paris, in Beirut and over the Sinai desert. The barbarity and inhumanity of these attacks defies the understanding of civilised people everywhere. People going about their ordinary lives shopping, socialising and travelling were struck down by vicious and cowardly suicide bombers and killers, acting on the basis of a misguided ideology.
It is disturbing to discover that some of these cowardly acts were perpetrated by terrorists who exploited the poverty and despair of refugees who have travelled through appalling hardship and life-threatening challenges to seek a better life in northern Europe. The reports that some of these terrorists were hidden among the influx of genuine refugees travelling northwards over recent months should not be used to enhance the arguments of those in northern countries who would refuse them access to a better life.
The variety of nationalities of those affected by the killings in Paris emphasises the fact that this is a global rather than a national issue. It is not just the French, Lebanese or Egyptian nations which are affected by these killings. They have an impact on the security, safety and stability of society across the globe. They demand a coordinated global response.
Part of that response must be based on the provision of quality education for all, particularly to marginalised and disadvantaged groups, and based on access to education which promotes tolerance and understanding, and which recognises and respects diversity but challenges those whose values include oppressing and murdering others in shameful acts of religious bigotry and hatred. These killings should give greater impetus to the need for effective and urgent implementation of the recently developed Sustainable Development Goals. The achievement of those Goals would help to eliminate many of the social and economic problems which encourage the growth of such terrorist organisations.
Education International is committed to working with like-minded organisations and inter-governmental agencies across the globe to promote peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. It is also prepared to challenge those who believe that their intolerant and corrupt ideology justifies the exploitation and murder of innocent people. The EI Executive Board calls on all EI member organisations to encourage their members to renew their individual commitment to promote peace, justice and tolerance in their schools and other educational institutions and to encourage educators throughout the world to unite in pursuit of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We stand in solidarity with all education unions who work on the frontlines every day in countries where the threat and the reality of violence are ever present.