Malala and Thousands of Children Take a Stand Against Attacks on Education at Save the Children Peace Party

Proposed Safe Schools Declaration Could Restore Education for Millions of Children
Save the Children, December 9, 2014

OSLO, Norway (Dec. 10, 2014) — In Oslo today, where the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded, Save the Children held its 18th annual Peace Prize party for 6,000 school children on an outdoor stage. Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi attended the party to share their experiences and answer questions from the children. The children and students learned more about their efforts to protect children’s rights and education, and shared their own views. The one-hour program was designed and hosted by a children’s committee.

Children’s right to education is under attack in more than 70 countries, causing millions of children to lose out on school because of war and conflict. Awarding the Nobel Peace prize to Malala marks a unique opportunity to awaken decision makers, give hope to students and reiterate our condemnation of all attacks on education.

“Children have the right to education even when living in countries affected by conflict,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, referring to recent attacks on schools and school children in Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. “Attacks on schools cause irreparable damage to children’s education by cutting off their access to school, as well as seriously impeding their learning outcomes. Such attacks and the military use of schools can also put children’s and teachers’ lives at serious risk, and cause massive damage to educational systems. These attacks gravely go against every child’s right to an education and are in direct violation of international humanitarian law.”

The Peace Prize party precedes the launch of an international initiative to make schools safe and stop armed groups from using schools for military purposes. The initiative will be discussed by representatives of 20 countries in Geneva on Dec. 16. A declaration on safe schools has been put forward to make schools zones of peace to minimize the negative impact that armed conflict has on students’ safety and education. The Safe Schools declaration, if implemented, could lead to millions more children attending school.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Notes to editors:

War and conflict are preventing 28.5 million children from going to school: the biggest single reason 57.8 million children are out of school worldwide. In recent years, the number of reported attacks on education has increased, with 9,500 attacks occurring between 2009 and 2013, according to the latest Education under Attack Report, published by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack earlier this year. The report also illustrates how national armed forces and non-state armed groups, multi-national forces and even peacekeepers have used schools and universities in at least 25 countries during armed conflicts between 2005 and 2014.