DAKAR: With the 2015 UN target for ensuring universal primary education fast approaching, the UN education agency warned on Tuesday that 67 million children are not attending school, including 28 million caught in armed conflicts.
Armed conflict is keeping 28 million children around the world out of schools, where they are often targets of sexual abuse and violence, according to the report by UNESCO.
UNESCO’s 2011 Global Monitoring Report concluded that the world is not on track to achieve the goal set by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000 “by a wide margin,” despite progress in many areas. The report, titled “The hidden crisis: armed conflict and education”, said that 42 percent of children not enrolled in schools around the world live in poor countries wracked by conflict.
“Children and schools today are on the front line of armed conflicts, with classrooms, teachers and pupils seen as legitimate targets,” the UNESCO report said.
This often leads to a vicious cycle in which poverty and lack of development are reinforced by a lack of education, and the risk of further conflict is heightened as millions of youths fail to find employment. “Armed conflict remains a major roadblock to human development in many parts of the world, yet its impact on education is widely neglected,” UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement released at the report’s launch in Dakar.
Thirty-five countries were affected by armed conflict from 1999 to 2008, fifteen of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Children and schools are on the front line of these conflicts with classrooms, teachers and pupils seen as legitimate targets,” the statement said. In Afghanistan, at least 613 attacks on schools were recorded in 2009, up from 347 in 2008 while terrorists in northwestern Pakistan have made numerous attacks on girls’ schools, including one in which 95 girls were injured.
In North Yemen, 220 schools were destroyed, damaged or looted during fighting in 2009 and 2010, the report said.
According to the report, insecurity and fear associated with sexual violence keep young girls in particular out of school. Rape and sexual violence have been widely used as a tactic of war in countries such as Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
UNESCO warned that the system of humanitarian aid is failing children, with aid skewed toward a small group of countries identified as national security priorities, neglecting many of the world’s poorest countries. agencies.Daily time.