Date Published: 29 June 2007
Education under fire - UNICEF
UNICEF today condemned continuing attacks on schoolchildren and educational facilities in conflict zones around the world.
" Attacks on schoolchildren are unacceptable,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
“ Schools must be safe environments for children to learn and thrive.”
In recent weeks: two schoolgirls were killed, and another three students and a teacher were injured outside a girls' school in Afghanistan on 12 June; and one student traveling to national college entrance exams was killed, and in a separate incident another was injured, in crossfire in Gaza on 14 June.
In parts of Iraq parents remain justly concerned about the risks involved in sending their children to school, and insecurity has closed schools in the Central African Republic, in Nepal and in Sri Lanka.
However this month has also provided evidence that where an education system continues to function, students will face real risks to take advantage of the opportunities that education provides. In the occupied Palestinian territory in June, some 60,000 students in both Gaza and the West Bank made it through 10 days of entrance exams, despite the current crisis.
"Children have the right to a safe learning environment at all times, even under the most difficult of circumstances," Veneman stated.