Schools and children are being targeted rather than protected in global conflicts [EN/AR]


Second International Conference on Safe Schools convened to support the protection of education during armed conflict

Buenos Aires, Argentina - March 2017

Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, through its legal advocacy programme, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), and its partners at the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), are calling upon countries across the world to sign the Safe Schools Declaration (Declaration), and for those who have already signed up to fully implement it on a national level.

The Declaration sets out a political commitment by states to protect education from attack, including by endorsing and committing to use the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict (Guidelines).

On the occasion of the Second International Conference on Safe Schools, EAA through its PEIC programme calls on countries across the world to do more to protect children’s right to an education. Education is the driver of human development and a universal human right. However, it is frequently used as a weapon of war, with schools targeted for attack or taken over by armed groups.

Maleiha Malik said:

“Since its adoption in May 2015, 61 countries have endorsed the Declaration and yet the use of education as a weapon of war continues.

“Attacks on schools must stop now and every child’s right to an education must be respected. We urge all governments to join the 61 countries that have already signed the Declaration to make our global voice stronger. It is only by working together that we can protect students and teachers from further attacks.”

There have been multiple attacks on schools in at least 21 countries experiencing armed conflict and insecurity since 2013. In addition, the use of schools for military purposes has been documented in at least 24 countries with armed conflicts and insecurity. With conflicts ongoing across the world, it is critical that more states join their efforts to protect every child’s right to an education, adding their name to the list of countries that have signed the Declaration.

The Declaration aims to strengthen the protection of and response to attacks on education, including by: collecting reliable data, providing assistance to victims, investigating allegations of violations of national and international law, developing and promoting “conflict sensitive” approaches to education, seeking to continue education during armed conflict and supporting the UN’s work on the children and armed conflict agenda.

The Guidelines offer a set of practical actions that can help parties to conflict (whether State or non-State actors) to exercise restraint with respect to the military use of educational facilities or at least to mitigate the impact the practice can have on students’ safety and education when it does occur.

EAA and its partners are working with countries across the world to improve reporting on attacks. The ultimate aim is to restore access to education as quickly as possible when schools are attacked.


Notes to Editors:

The Safe Schools Declaration was developed through consultations with States and was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools in May 2015. The Declaration calls for states to promote and protect the right to education and to facilitate the continuation of education in situations of armed conflict.

About Education Above All:

  • Education Above All (EAA) is a global initiative founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar.

  • It aims to build a global movement which fosters development, with a particular focus on areas affected by poverty, conflict and disaster, the needs of children, and the empowerment of youth and women.

  • EAA is the umbrella organisation overseeing four core programmes: Educate A Child (EAC), Al Fakhoora, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC) and Reach Out To Asia (ROTA).

  • For more information, visit, follow us on twitter @EAA_Foundation, Facebook and Instagram @educationaboveall_eaa

About Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict:

  • PEIC was created to promote and protect the right to education in areas affected by crisis, conflict and insecurity.

  • PEIC focuses on strengthening the international legal framework that protects education and schools from attack during conflict as well as promoting the values of the rule of law, including the right to education.

  • PEIC brings together practitioners and specialists in education, international law and child protection together to protect the right to education.

  • An estimated 36% of out-of-school children are living in conflict-affected areas.

  • 1 million young people are missing out on meaningful opportunities for learning and skills development in these contexts.

About the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack:

EAA is a founding member of the GCPEA, the organisation that spearheaded the process which lead to the adoption of the Safe Schools Declaration. GCPEA was established in 2010 by organisations from the fields of education in emergencies and conflict-affected fragile states, higher education, protection, and international human rights and humanitarian law who were concerned about on-going attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict and insecurity. In addition to EAA, the Steering Committee is comprised of seven other international organisations: CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Human Rights Watch, the Institute of International Education, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNHCR, and UNICEF. GCPEA also has numerous other member organisations that participate in the working groups and contribute to the Coalition in different ways.

These organisations are meeting with states, international governmental and non-governmental organisations in Buenos Aires to participate in the Second International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration. This will be the first international meeting since the Declaration’s adoption.

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