Malta 61st State to Endorse Safe Schools Declaration
GCPEA PRESS RELEASE, March 24, 2017
(New York, March 24, 2017) – Malta announced its endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration today, becoming the 61st state to do so, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).
“By signing onto the Safe Schools Declaration, Malta is joining 60 other states in making a clear commitment to better protect education in war-time,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA director. “Growing support for the Safe Schools Declaration reflects increasing global concern about the targeting of schools, universities, students, and teachers during armed conflict and the imperative to end these attacks.”
Malta’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration is particularly timely as it currently holds the presidency of the European Union. Moreover, it comes 4 days ahead of the Second International Safe Schools Conference, to be co-hosted by the Argentine ministries of foreign affairs and defense in Buenos Aires on March 28-29. The Conference will gather representatives of over 60 states to discuss ways to better implement the Declaration, including by incorporating the Guidelines to Protect Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict into military doctrine; improving monitoring and reporting of attacks; investigating education-related violations of humanitarian and human rights law; supporting conflict-sensitive education policies; and introducing measures to better ensure the continuation of safe education during conflict.
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The Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment, was developed in a state-led process headed by Norway and Argentina, and was opened for endorsement in Oslo in May 2015. Malta’s endorsement is the latest of a number of recent endorsements, including Armenia’s on March 22, and Canada and France’s at the end of February.
GCPEA is an inter-agency coalition formed in 2010 by organizations working in the fields of education in emergencies and conflict-affected contexts, higher education, protection, and international human rights and humanitarian law that were concerned about ongoing attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict and insecurity.
GCPEA includes: The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), Human Rights Watch, the Institute of International Education, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC, a program of Education Above All), Save the Children, the Scholars at Risk Network, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).