“Students must never be targets of violence” – UN expert on the right to education

OHCHR, December 16, 2014

GENEVA (17 December 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, deplores and condemns in the strongest terms the acts of terror that claimed an immense number of innocent children’s lives in Peshawar, Pakistan, and near Radaa, Yemen.

“As in Afghanistan, Nigeria and other parts of the world, we must all take a public stand against attacks targeting schools, students and teachers.

I am extremely worried about the upsurge in targeted attacks against schools and violence against students. I am even more horrified to hear extremists claim that such attacks are justified.

No one should think that attacks on students, teachers or schools can ever be justified, and all politicians should be the first to say so. Leadership must include protecting those most in need, and this includes our children.

Wherever students are being threatened and intimidated just for seeking to realize their right to education, we must stand up for them. Children should be protected so that they are not afraid to go to school and to study, which is their human right.

Humanitarian and human rights law places special obligations on governments to protect* students and schools, and these must be respected and fulfilled.

In particular, governments must take proportionate and necessary measures to ensure that schools in areas of insecurity and conflict are adequately protected, and that perpetrators of violence are investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I call on all governments to engage with local and religious leaders to work together so that children are never intimidated while going to school, and that they must always be protected by all. An end must also be put to such shameful attacks.” 

(*) See Mr. Singh’s 2011 report to the UN General Assembly, on the protection of education during armed conflicts (A/66/269): 

Check other press releases on the Pakistan school killings:

Pakistan school killings: Zeid calls for united front against “savage extremism”:  https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15427&LangID=E

Peshawar attack: UN Child Rights Committee condemns cold-blooded murder of schoolchildren: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15430&LangID=E

Kishore Singh (India), the Special Rapporteur on the right to education since August 2010, is a professor specialized in international law who has worked for many years with UNESCO for the promotion of the right to education, and advised a number of international, regional and national bodies on right to education issues. Throughout his career, Mr. Singh has supported the development of the right to education in its various dimensions and worked to promote better understanding of this right as an internationally recognized right. Learn more, log on to: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/SREducation/Pages/SREducationIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Pakistan: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PKIndex.aspx  

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