We Must Unite to Protect Education From Attack

Education Cannot Wait (ECW), September 12, 2022

Statement by ECW Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on International Day to Protect Education from Attack – 9 September 2022

Schools, students and teachers continue to be targeted and attacked in countries around the world. Over the past two years, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of attacks on education. Innocent children, adolescents and teachers are being killed, raped and abducted. Schools and universities are bombed, burned down and used for military purposes. Girls and boys are too scared to walk to school and face intimidation and other attacks. These are severe breaches of international humanitarian law and ultimately – and absolutely – inhumane.

On the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, we must unite to protect schools, schoolchildren and teachers from these grave violations. We must unite to uphold international law and the principals of the Safe Schools Declaration. We must unite to safeguard education by creating comprehensive physical protection measures and implement legal frameworks that address impunity and prevent more attacks from happening, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2601.

With the war in Ukraine, unrelenting forced displacement of millions, and armed conflict and violence in countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and beyond – exacerbated by the compounding pressures from the climate crisis and COVID-19 – these attacks on education and on human rights are derailing efforts to deliver on our promise of education for all and the other Sustainable Development Goals.

There were more than 5,000 reported attacks on education and incidents of military use of schools and universities, according the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack’s “Education Under Attack 2022” report. 

As we unite to #ProtectEducationFromAttack and help realize the 222 Million Dreams✨📚 of 222 million crisis-affected girls and boys who urgently need education support – ECW and our strategic partners are calling on government donors, the private sector, foundations and high-net-worth individuals to step up and make substantial contributions at Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Financing Conference, taking place in Geneva in February 2023.

Hosted by Switzerland and Education Cannot Wait – and co-convened by Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan – the Financing Conference provides us a chance to deliver on our promise of education for all, to strengthen the protection of schools, students and teachers, and to create safe and more protected learning environments.

222 million crisis-affected girls and boys deserve nothing less than their inherent human right to learn in safety and with dignity.