Republic of Moldova is 86th country to endorse Safe Schools Declaration
GCPEA PRESS RELEASE, April 17, 2019
(New York, April 17, 2019) – The Republic of Moldova is the 86th state to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental commitment to protect schools and universities from targeted and indiscriminate bombing and burning, and students, teachers, and academics from killing, injury, rape, abduction, and recruitment by parties to the conflict, at education institutions, and en route to them, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education form Attack (GCPEA) today.
Moldova is also the 39th participating state in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the 37th member of the Council of Europe, to join the growing community of states committed to taking concrete action to protect education during war-time.
“Moldova’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration is significant given the challenges to the education sector that have arisen from the frozen conflict in Transdniestria,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA executive director. “The Declaration includes a commitment to promote conflict-sensitive education policies that foster peace rather than fuel tensions, which is particularly relevant to the context.”
Moldova’s endorsement comes as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain prepares to host the Third International Conference on Safe Schools, which will take place from May 27-29, 2019, at the Palace of Congress in Palma de Mallorca.
During the conference, governments, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations will share their experience of protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities in situations of conflict and insecurity. The conference will pay special attention to the ways in which women and girls may be differently impacted by attacks on education than men and boys; emphasize the need to improve monitoring and reporting of attacks on education to inform prevention, mitigation, and accountability mechanisms; and identify concrete measures for avoiding military use of educational infrastructure.
A key component of the Safe Schools Declaration is the commitment to bring the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict into relevant domestic policy and operational frameworks.
According to GCPEA’s report, Education under Attack 2018, in at least 28 countries around the world, between 2013 and 2017, schools and universities were used for military purposes by armed forces and armed groups, depriving students of their right to education and risking the security of students, teachers, and staff.
In a neighboring country, Ukraine, there have also been some positive developments in protecting education from attack, with the Minister of Education and Science, Liliia Mykhailivna Hrynevych, issuing a press release outlining the next steps that her government will take to finalize its endorsement of the Declaration.
“The Government of Ukraine has made efforts to strengthen protections for students, teachers, and educational institutions, and endorsement of the Declaration would solidify this process,” Nijhowne said. “The Palma Conference offers an opportunity for countries like Moldova and Ukraine to showcase the steps they are taking to protect education in armed conflict, and a global stage for other countries to demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding education by announcing their endorsement of the Declaration.”