Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Over 3000 attacks on education reported worldwide in 2022: GCPEA

More than 3,000 attacks on education were identified in 2022, a 17% increase over the previous year, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) reported. The data were released ahead of the fourth United Nations International Day to Protect Education from Attack, on September 09.

Almost one-third of all attacks took place in just three countries: Ukraine, Myanmar, and Burkina Faso, with the war in Ukraine accounting for the majority.

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a coalition of UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations working in the fields of education in emergencies, protection, and higher education.

According to them, more than 6,700 students and educators were reportedly killed, injured, abducted, arrested, or otherwise harmed by attacks on education in 2022, an increase of 20% from 2021.

Armed forces and non-state armed groups using schools for military purposes also rose in 2022, with over 510 cases reported, compared with around 450 the previous year. Explosive weapons, both targeted and indiscriminate, were frequently used in attacks on education, causing widespread damage. Unexploded ordnance will continue to pose a deadly risk for years to come.

The coalition also released a new 39-page report, Non-State Armed Groups and Attacks on Education: Exploring Trends and Practices to Curb Violations, which found that, in 2020 and 2021, more than half of all attacks on education, and a quarter of reported military use of schools and universities, were by non-state armed groups.

In 2022 and 2023, non-state armed groups continued to perpetrate a significant proportion of all attacks. In just one example, Al-Shabaab, an insurgent group in Somalia, claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in October 2022 against the Ministry of Education that killed at least 121 civilians and wounded hundreds more.

Since 2015, when the Safe Schools Declaration was launched, over a dozen governments have made changes to their national policies, practices, or military manuals, to limit the use of schools for military purposes. Non-state armed groups have also taken measures to safeguard education.

In October 2022, several groups operating in Burkina Faso signed unilateral declarations committing to protect educational institutions. In Yemen, the Houthis – who control the capital and other parts of the country – signed an action plan in 2022 to end attacks on schools along with other grave violations against children.

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