UN chief calls for halt to attacks on schools

Sep 10, 2021

UN chief calls for halt to attacks on schools

United Nations, September 10: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for an end to attacks on schools, noting that protecting education means protecting the future.
The global community needs to say with one voice that "attacks on schools must stop," the UN chief told a virtual event commemorating the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
"Schools must be places of learning, safety and peace," said the top UN official, lauding education as not only providing knowledge and skills but also transforming lives and driving development for people, communities and for societies.
Nevertheless, he added, "year after year, this fundamental right comes under attack."
The UN chief encouraged the participants to imagine being a child in a classroom eager to learn, or a teacher dedicated to shaping the minds of the next generation.
"Now imagine the horrors inflicted by conflict on learning," he said, painting a picture of schools being targeted, destroyed -- or used for military purposes -- and of children facing violence, exploitation, even being recruited to fight -- simply because they want to study.
The secretary-general cited the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in revealing that between 2015 and 2020, over 13,000 reports of strikes on education, or the military use of educational facilities, had been recorded around the world.
"We urge member states to go beyond their commitments under international law and put in place national policies and laws that protect schools and learners," said the secretary-general.
Finally, the UN chief called for increased global support for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), who are "working around the clock" to protect education, students, teachers and schools in some of the most dangerous places around the world.
In May 2020, the UN General Assembly established the day by a unanimous decision, calling on UNESCO and UNICEF to raise awareness of the plight of millions of children living in countries affected by conflict.
The resolution affirmed that governments have the primary responsibility to provide protection and ensure "inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels to all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations."
Source: Xinhua