The United Nations Security Council on Sep 11 urged warring parties in all conflicts especially in Africa to immediately stop attacking schools and teachers. The council also reaffirmed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for global ceasefires to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a presidential statement approved by all 15 council members, the UN expressed grave concern about the significant increase of attacks on schools in recent years and the resulting alarming number of children denied access to quality education.

According to Virginia Gamba, the UN envoy for children in conflict, attacking schools and teachers seems to be an emerging tactic of war, particularly in Africa’s Sahel region, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse.

“Schools are targeted precisely because they are schools and even more if they cater to girls. In the last two years in Mali for example, teachers were threatened and killed, education facilities demolished, and learning materials burned, leading to the closure of over 1,260 schools, even before COVID-19,” Gamba said.

“Similarly, the last 12 months in Burkina Faso have seen increasing attacks, including the burning of schools and kidnapping of teachers, forcing 2,500 schools to shut down and depriving hundreds of thousands of children from education,” she added.

Furthermore, the UN envoy for children in conflict said that legislation adopted by some conflict-affected countries including the Central African Republic, the Philippines and Myanmar that protects schools from attack and criminalizes violations is still at the early stages of implementation and more needs to be done to speed delivery.

While welcoming the statement Henrietta Fore, head of UNICEF, said that protecting schools from attack and providing education in the midst of emergencies is more than a humanitarian need.

“Protecting schools from attack is a moral obligation to children and communities alike. However, it is clearly a moral obligation that we are failing to meet because millions of children are not getting an education,” Fore said.

“COVID-19 has disrupted learning for almost one billion children worldwide. At the same time, we must remember those who have no education waiting for them, including many of the 75 million children worldwide who live in countries in conflict.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Tanker truck explosion kills 19 people in China

A tanker truck explosion in southeast China has killed 19 people and left over 170 injured, according to local media. The vehicle was carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) when it exploded on a highway in Zhejiang province on Saturday. Images…

FIA says it could not prove Ferrari’s engine operated outside rules in 2019

The FIA has stated that it could not conclusively prove Ferrari’s engine had been operating outside the rules in 2019. Their statement comes in reaction to the threat of legal action from teams dissatisfied with their investigation. The FIA’s enquiry…

Iraqi ISIL suspect accused of Yazidi genocide on trial in Germany

An Iraqi man believed to have belonged to the ISIL (ISIS) group has gone on trial in Germany, accused of genocide and murdering a child belonging to the Yazidi minority who he held as a slave. The 27-year-old man, identified…

From London’s Royal Court to Birmingham Rep

Daniel Mays: I couldn’t get arrested in the six months after drama school – a barren time full of self-doubt. Then came an audition for the Royal Court’s Young Writers festival. I was cast alongside Sian Brooke, Liz White and…