All Parties Should Protect Schools and Children in Gaza Conflict
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), July 31, 2014
New York, July 31, 2014 – The shelling of a United Nations-run school in Gaza yesterday, resulting in multiple civilian casualties, highlights the urgent need to protect schools and children from the violence of armed conflict, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) today.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), yesterday’s shelling, which killed and injured children and other civilians sheltering there, was the sixth time an UNRWA school has been struck since the current hostilities began. Civilians, including children, are seeking sanctuary in UNRWA schools because they have no other safe place to go and are not able to flee from the fighting.
Attacks on schools that are not being used for military purposes violate international humanitarian law. GCPEA calls on all parties to the conflict to respect education facilities as safe zones and to refrain from any military activity in or around schools that could put them—and civilians at the schools—at risk. These attacks endanger UN schools acting as places of refuge.
The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a unique coalition of international organizations, including CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Human Rights Watch, the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict, Save the Children International, the Scholars at Risk Network, UNESCO, UNHCR, and UNICEF. GCPEA is a project of the Tides Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at www.protectingeducation.org.