Education should be protected during times of armed conflict – Save the Children
Attacks on students, teachers, schools and universities, and the military use of educational facilities, are not acceptable; and continuing education during armed conflict is of paramount importance for children’s wellbeing. These were among the issues discussed at a “Roundtable on Joining Efforts in Protection of Children’s Rights in Armed Conflicts,” held in Kyiv on 8 June, organized by the Danish Refugee Council and the Human Rights Ombudsman of Ukraine. Save the Children participated along with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Social Policy, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, and Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations working in the field of human rights and child protection.
Save the Children is calling for the Safe Schools Declaration for the first time in Ukraine, through which Ukraine is encouraged to express its political will to protect students and teachers in the conflict-affected areas of the eastern part of the country. The Declaration contains a number of commitments aimed at strengthening the prevention and response to attacks on education during armed conflicts.
Save the Children welcomed efforts by the Ukrainian Government to promote and protect the right to education and to facilitate the continuation of education in times of conflict.
Save the Children and the roundtable participants highlighted that by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, the Ukrainian Government would help children to be safe, to get access to education, normality and stability, receive life-saving information and reduce the risk of children being engaged in the armed conflict.
The roundtable participants agreed to further discuss these issues and reinforce joint efforts to bring positive changes to students and teachers in Ukraine. Save the Children will continue advocating for the endorsement of the Declaration by the Ukrainian Government and its ratification in national legislation, and will provide in-depth support by informing and advising on the steps to be taken to endorse and implement the guidelines of the Safe Schools Declaration.
The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that was opened for endorsement at the First International Conference on Safe Schools held in Oslo, Norway, on 29 May 2015. As of March 2017, 64 countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway is the depositary of endorsements.