One hundred countries sign up to safe schools declaration - Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

Home > Media Contacts and Press Releases > One hundred countries sign up to safe schools declaration – Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

20th November 2019 – In response to the announcement that 100 countries have now endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said:

“Education is a right for every child, even in the middle of conflict. For children whose lives have been turned upside down by the chaos of war, schools should be zones of peace, a space where they can feel safe and protected. Unfortunately, far too often this is not the case.

“When children miss out on education because their schools are damaged, destroyed or otherwise out of use, they miss out on the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to build peaceful and prosperous communities. They also become more vulnerable to horrific forms of exploitation including sexual abuse and forced recruitment into armed groups.

“That 100 countries have now endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration is a positive milestone. That this milestone has been reached on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is cause for celebration. However, we need every country to commit to this cause, and to translate that commitment into action. Beyond endorsing the Declaration, governments and donors around the world should support education in emergencies to help keep children learning and protected.”


Notes for editors:

The Safe Schools Declaration provides states the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict, and is the instrument for states to endorse and commit to implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. The Declaration was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools convened by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 2015. Ukraine today became the 100th country to endorse the Declaration.

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For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Murdoch, 0207 375 6179,

Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030,

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Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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