Haiti is 83rd Country to Endorse Safe Schools Declaration

GCPEA PRESS RELEASE, January 30, 2019

(January 31, 2019 – New York) The Government of Haiti has endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, becoming the 83rd country to commit to continuing safe education during armed conflict, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said today. 

With Haiti’s endorsement, half of the United Nations member states in the International Organisation of La Francophonie have now joined the Declaration. This signals building international consensus on the urgent need to protect schools and universities, their students and staff, from targeted and indiscriminate attacks, and educational institutions from military use. 

“Entire generations of children risk losing their future because of attacks on education, and once out of school, children are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including recruitment by fighting forces,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA executive director. “The Safe Schools Declaration is not only a key instrument for ensuring that students can continue to learn in safety, but, by protecting education, also maintains education’s protective function, diminishing the risk of abuse and exploitation that can be heightened for young people in situations of insecurity.”

Since the launch of the Declaration in May 2015, more than one third of all United Nations member states have joined this international political agreement.

Haiti’s endorsement comes in advance of the Third International Conference on Safe Schools, to be hosted by the Government of Spain on May 28-29, 2019. Government representatives and organizations working to protect education will gather in Palma de Mallorca to catalyze action to end attacks on education. They will examine progress in implementing the Safe Schools Declaration, and identify pragmatic solutions to the significant challenges armed conflict poses to education around the world. 

Being from a region that has experience delivering education following natural disasters, Haiti and other Caribbean states have examples of good practice in safeguarding education that can be applied to the context of armed conflict and shared.

“Haiti has shown leadership in the Caribbean by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration,” said Nijhowne. “Other states should join them ahead of the Spain Conference and build on the global momentum to better protect education.”