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Global Action Week: Education under attack

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Attacks on education are on the rise and acutely affect its availability, states a new UNESCO study, launched to mark Global Action Week 2007.

"Education should be part of the solution to conflict, not a contributor to tension," states author Brendan O'Malley, in an interview for the UNESCO Education Portal.

Pupils taken hostage, targeted by bombs or abducted to work as child soldiers; teachers assassinated in school; the blasting of schools with shells and rockets or their use as military bases; teacher trade unionists unaccountably disappearing... the UNESCO study catalogues these and other assaults on education.

Reasserting that "attacks on educational institutions are a war crime", the study charts the extent and nature of the violence and suggests actions to address it.

Some of the countries with the highest number of recent attacks on education are Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. The attacks tend to be carried out by various armed groups, forces supported by the state or occupying forces.

"Education under attack" is dedicated to Safia Ama Jan, who dedicated her life to getting Afghan girls into school. She was shot and killed outside her home in Kandahar in September 2006.

Contact: k.shaheen@unesco.org