According to the United Nations, from 2015 to 2019, about 11,000 armed attacks targeting education in some way took place worldwide
The UN Security Council on Thursday called on all member states to do more to protect schools from outside violence, in a unanimous statement sponsored by Niger and Belgium.
The 15 members say schools should be "spaces free from all forms of violence," lamenting an uptick in attacks on schools in recent years, leading to an "alarming number of children denied access to quality education."
According to the United Nations, from 2015 to 2019, about 11,000 armed attacks targeting education in some way took place worldwide.
They took several forms: against schools, students, teachers or other school staff.
The council "urges all parties to armed conflict to immediately cease such attacks and threats and to refrain from actions that impede children's access to education," the statement said.
It decried how armed groups and militaries sometimes use schools as shelters or weapons depots — which can turn them into targets for their adversaries.
"The Security Council condemns the lack of accountability for violations committed against children and teachers," it said.
A high school student from Niger addressed the council by videoconference, saying investigation of such attacks needed to be systematically carried out, and the guilty brought to justice.
"Beyond being deprived of an education, what will happen to a generation whose childhood is marked by the sound of gunfire and the sight of the bodies of their close friends?" she said.
"Learning is not a crime, and neither is living — on the contrary, these are rights," she told the council.