In areas of armed conflict around the world, young people and educators face very real threats of violence. Attacks on education, considered “any intentional threat or use of force—carried out for political, military, ideological, sectarian, ethnic, religious, or criminal reasons—against students, educators, and education institutions,”1 are having devastating effects on lives and access to education. Ultimately, the futures of children and the societies in which they live are being gravely compromised.
In some cases, school or university facilities are the targets of attacks with weapons or arson used to damage or destroy. In other cases, students and education personnel are the targets of violence, including sexual violence. In addition, schools, the very places that should be havens of safety where children can develop their potential, are being co-opted for military use and children are being recruited for campaigns of violence at school and along routes to school.
Education Under Attack 2020, a report from the Global Coalition to Protection Education From Attack, documents over 11,000 reports of attacks on education or military use of educational facilities globally between 2015 and 2019. These incidents harmed over 22,000 students, teachers, and education personnel. Incidents of such violence have occurred in at least 92 countries and in every region of the world.
Recognizing the gravity of this danger and reaffirming the human right to education, the United Nations passed a resolution this year establishing September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education From Attack. The resolution calls for governments to protect students, educators, and school, and thereby ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels to all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations.
CE International joins the global community in calling for all possible efforts to be made to protect students, educators, and schools from attack and deter military use of educational facilities. We are committed to ensuring all children can exercise their right to a safe education and to developing education systems that are conflict-sensitive and promote respect between social or ethnic groups.