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The right to safe education should be a matter of course, but it isn’t

The right to safe education should be a matter of course, but it isn’t

Safe education is not evident in all countries. In at least 26 countries the recent years schools are attacked or being occupied and converted into military barracks or bases by military forces and armed groups in conflict zones. It endangers the lives of students, their teachers, and denies hundreds of thousands of children their right to education.

NGO Human Rights Watch started a campaign recently based on the Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment that was opened for endorsement by countries at an international conference held in Oslo, Norway, on 28 May 2015. 56 states have already endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration. The project is named Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) and Human Rights Watch is one of the member organizations.

Human Rights Watch:

The impact of armed conflict on education presents urgent humanitarian, development and wider social challenges. Worldwide, schools and universities have been bombed, shelled and burned, and children, students, teachers and academics have been killed, maimed, abducted or arbitrarily detained. Educational facilities have been used by parties to armed conflict as, inter alia, bases, barracks or detention centres.

The educational consequences of military use of schools can include high student dropout rates, reduced enrollment, lower rates of transition to higher education, overcrowding, and loss of teaching time. In many countries, armed conflict continues to destroy not just school infrastructure, but the hopes and ambitions of a whole generation of children.

The campaign video, directed by Reynald Gresset, shows the life of a schoolgirl while her school is being occupied by soldiers. The little girl navigates between the military men and struggles to find a place where she can be safe. The tense mood of the operation depicts the fear that endangered children can feel.

The aim of the #ProtectSchools campaign is to get additional countries to endorse the Safe School Declaration and protect education from attack and schools from military use.

Agency: BETC Paris

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