Statement by Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif: GCPEA ‘Education Under Attack 2022’ Report

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Attacks on Education in Syria
Children in front of a bombed out school in Syria. Photo: GCPEA

Attacks on schools, teachers and students in places like Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, the State of Palestine, and Ukraine have been going on for decades, with impunity and no accountability.

We must immediately address this crisis by ensuring adherence to the Safe Schools Declaration, which draws on International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. We need to end attacks on schools, enforce international law, and support affected countries’ with the financial resources they need to provide children and youth with physical protection from attacks and safeguard their inherent human right to learn, grow and thrive in safe and protective learning environments.

According to the ‘Education Under Attack 2022’ report, launched today by our close strategic partner the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), “Attacks on education and the military use of schools increased from 2019 to 2020 by one-third. More than 9,000 students, teachers, and academics were harmed, injured, or killed in attacks on education during armed conflict over the past two years, and more than 5,000 separate attacks on education facilities, students and educators, or incidents of military use, took place in 2020 and 2021, a significant increase over the previous two years.”

These attacks represent a global crisis of violations and impunity that must stop now. In Ukraine over 1,800 educational institutions have been damaged and over 170 completely destroyed, according to the Education Cluster. Attacks like these are not just happening in Ukraine. According to the Education Under Attack report, they are on the rise in Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ethiopia, Mali, Myanmar and Nigeria, and emergent in others such as Mozambique and Azerbaijan.

By disrupting children’s access to education, these heinous attacks put children and adolescents at grave risk to their lives, either killing them or causing life-long disabilities, while also exposing them to gender-based violence, trafficking, sexual assault, recruitment into armed groups and other violations of their human rights, not the least their right to education.

To address this pressing global threat, we must step up funding for Education Cannot Wait and our strategic partners as we come together to deliver on our promise for universal and equitable education by 2030. This is our investment in education and the human security and human rights of 222 million children and youth, as well as their teachers, families and communities in the most conflict-ridden countries and contexts in the world today.

Note to Editors:

Support for the GCPEA ‘Education Under Attack 2022’ report was provided by the Education Above All Foundation, Education Cannot Wait, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an anonymous donor.



Global Launch of Education under Attack 2022 report

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Yasmine Sherif

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