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A Decade of Safeguarding Education in Armed Conflict

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In 2010, a group of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations working in the fields of education in emergencies, protection, higher education, and international humanitarian and human rights law united to create the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). Its goal was to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities during armed conflict. Ten years on, over half of all UN member states have endorsed an international political commitment to safeguard education, and a UN international day to protect education from attack has been established, amongst other significant advances. Lives are being saved and the right to education secured for some of the world's most vulnerable---young people in war zones.

What are Attacks on Education?

Attacks on education are any intentional or indiscriminate threat or use of force—carried out for political, military, ideological, sectarian, ethnic, religious, or criminal reasons—against students, educators, and education institutions. Such attacks include school arson or bombings, and targeted killings of education personnel, as well as abduction and forced recruitment of students and teachers, sexual violence perpetrated by armed forces or armed groups against students or teachers, and repression of education-related protests, at schools or en route to and from them. Military use of schools and universities often result in attacks on education, causing death and injury, and themselves obstruct teaching and learning, and lead to mass displacement and drop-out of students and educators.