Malala Takes A Stand Against Attacks on Education

Scoop Independent News, December 10, 2014


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.

“Those who say that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is uncontroversial are mistaken”, says Heather Hayden, Chief Executive of Save the Children New Zealand , referring to recent attacks on schools and school children in Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. “Children have the right to education even when living in countries affected by conflict”.

“What a fantastic prize to be given on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Millions of children are affected by conflict and hazardous labour, in that they are unable to go to school for these very reasons. Schools belong to children, and children belong at school”, Ms Hayden said.

In Oslo, where the prize is to be awarded today, Save the Children will hold a Peace Prize Party for 6,000 school children on an outdoor stage. This year, Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi will be attending the party to share their experiences and answer questions from the children.

“Attacks on education cause irreparable damage to children’s education, both in terms of 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 their and their teachers’ lives at serious risk, and cause massive damage to educational systems. These attacks are grave violations of children’s rights to life and education and are in direct contravention of international humanitarian law”, says Heather Hayden .

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 9500 attacks occurring between 2009 and 2013, according to the latestEducation 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.