Statement by Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, on the Abduction of School Girls in Nigeria

Global Partnership for Education, May 7, 2014

It is with utmost concern that I condemn the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok in northern Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram. My thoughts and heartfelt feelings are with the families of these girls and I hope they will soon be able to embrace their daughters once more.

This act of violence against girls who are seeking an education is deplorable and cannot be tolerated. It is imperative that the Nigerian government do its utmost to find and set free these girls. I applaud the support extended by the United States and others to rescue the girls.

It is the right of every child to get a free universal education and it is our obligation to ensure that schools are safe places – for students and teachers.

While the events in Nigeria are paramount at this moment, it is important to note that attacks against education occur globally. The latest comprehensive survey of attacks on education documents a growth in their number and impact.

We can act. The Global Partnership for Education works with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack to support global efforts to prevent violent attacks on education and improve protection. As highlighted in the statement by the GPE Board of Directors on the fatal attacks on a college in Nigeria on February 27, 2014, the Global Partnership for Education is determined to prevent further attacks by:

  • highlighting the incidence and impact of attacks on education in conflict and insecurity among key actors and cultivate public support for safe education;
  • promoting better systems for monitoring and reporting attacks on education;
  • promoting effective programs and policy to protect education from attack, including prevention and response;
  • advocating adherence to existing international law protecting education and the strengthening of international norms and standards as needed; and
  • supporting efforts to end impunity for attacks on education by promoting a range of accountability measures.

Our hearts are with the girls in Nigeria. We must unite to end violence against children everywhere and protect their right to an education.