TransConflict is pleased to announce that it is now an affiliated organization of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.
The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a new global coalition officially formed in February 2010 out of a series of technical conferences convened by UNESCO.
The GCPEA’s mission is to catalyse enhanced prevention of attacks on education, effective response to attacks, improved knowledge and understanding, better monitoring and reporting, stronger international norms and standards, and increased accountability.
Attacks on education are any intentional threat or use of force – carried out for political, military, ideological, sectarian, ethnic, religious or criminal reasons – against students, educators and education institutions. Attacks on education may be perpetrated by:
- State security forces, including armed forces, law enforcement, paramilitary, and militia forces acting on behalf of the state;
- Non-state armed groups.
A UNESCO study found intentional attacks of these types by state security forces or non-state armed groups in at least 31 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East between 2007 and 2009.
- In Afghanistan, the reported number of attacks on schools, students and staff nearly tripled from 2007 to 2008 – up from 242 to 670;
- In Colombia, 90 teachers were assassinated from 2006 through 2008, and from 2007 to 2009 at least five education buildings were attacked;
- In Darfur, Sudan, schools have been attacked and looted. In just one episode, an attack on Haskanita in September 2007, five schools were burned;
- In India, nearly 300 schools were reportedly blown up by Maoist rebels from 2006 through 2009;
- In Thailand, the number of attacks on schools quadrupled from 2006 to 2007, to 164, then fell back to the previous level in 2008, although killings of teachers, students and security escorts for teachers continued.
Central African Republic ©2009 Sven Torfinn
Over time,violent attacks weaken entire education systems, causing them to lose teachers and academics and affecting the quality of education. The problems extend to higher education as well, including curtailing research and innovation. Weakened education affects a country’s economic, political and social development and interferes with reducing poverty and improving maternal and child health.
The GCPEA’s key objectives are:
- To highlight the incidence and impact of attacks on education in conflict-affected and fragile situations among key actors, and cultivate public support for education in safe and secure environments;
- To promote the strengthening of existing monitoring and reporting systems as well as the creation of new systems where needed;
- To promote effective, coherent, timely, and evidence-based programmatic measures,including prevention and response;
- To encourage adherence to existing international law protecting education and the strengthening of international norms and standards as needed; and
- To fight impunity for attacks on education by promoting and supporting a range of accountability measures.