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Protecting Schools from Attack during Wartime

Protecting education during armed conflict: A matter of urgency

Education is essential for building peaceful and prosperous societies. However, attacks on education during armed conflict are on the rise, depriving children and young people of their right to learn and grow.

In recent years, there has been some progress in protecting education during armed conflict. The Safe Schools Declaration, launched in 2015, is a political commitment to protect education from attack. It has now been endorsed by 112 countries.

However, more needs to be done to implement the commitments made in the Safe Schools Declaration. In 2020, attacks on students, teachers, schools, and universities rose by one-third compared with 2019.

Governments and other stakeholders can take a number of steps to protect education during armed conflict. These include:

  • Revising military guidance to ensure that schools and other educational institutions are off-limits to military forces and their use is restricted to educational purposes only.

  • Criminalizing attacks on schools and teachers.

  • Reducing the use of schools and universities for military purposes.

  • Supporting the development and implementation of national safeguards for education in emergencies.

  • Providing humanitarian assistance to ensure that children and young people in conflict zones can continue to learn.

We all have a role to play in protecting education during armed conflict. We can raise awareness of this issue, support organizations that are working to protect education, and contact our elected officials to urge them to take action.

By taking these steps, we can help to ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to learn and grow, even in the midst of conflict.

Zama Neff


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