HE Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater stressed that protecting education from attack is highly significant for the State of Qatar, noting that the country’s impartial mediations in various conflicts over the past two decades provided close monitoring of the advantages of education and the devastation emanating from its absence, which made an investment in sound education a top priority for the State of Qatar both regionally and globally.
In a recorded speech delivered at a side event on the occasion of the second anniversary of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, Her Excellency said that the State of Qatar has always been one of the main supporters of the Safe Schools Declaration since it was launched in 2015. Her Excellency noted that the establishment of the Education Above All Foundation, one of the sponsors of this event, aimed at providing quality education for those affected by poverty, conflict and disasters, highlighting the foundation’s “Educate A Child” Program projects implemented with 82 global partners and 50 countries and its achievement of getting 10 million children enrolled in schools.
Her Excellency said that the draft resolution submitted by the State of Qatar to adopt the International Day to Protect Education from Attack was unanimously adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in recognition of the importance of ensuring quality education at all levels, and ensuring safe learning environments in emergencies and armed conflicts.
HE Assistant Foreign Minister stressed that education in itself is a fundamental human right, and must be provided for all people at all times, noting that education in emergencies, in particular, is viewed as a lifeline for those stuck in conflict areas or in displacement and long-distance asylum camps.
Her Excellency deemed marking this occasion an opportunity to contemplate how education can improve our lives and liberate us from vicious circles that create nothing but destruction, and how attacks on education can threaten the well-being and survival of millions of our children worldwide.
Her Excellency noted that the COVID-19 pandemic posed an exceptional challenge for both teachers and students, most notably those living in conflict areas, calling for deeming education at the heart of international efforts to recover from the pandemic amid a notable surge in attacks on schools. According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attacks (GCPEA) report (Education Under Attack 2021), in 2020 and 202, more than 5,000 attacks were recorded on educational facilities, students and teachers, and more than 9,000 students, teachers, and academics were harmed, injured or killed in attacks on education amid armed conflicts. Her Excellency said, deeming the figures extremely alarming that necessitate immediate attention and need for further action to protect education from attack.
HE Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater expressed her conviction that the optimum protection of education from attack will only be achieved by putting an end to armed conflicts, calling – when his objective is achieved- for concrete steps to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
Her Excellency added that this goal can be achieved through launching awareness campaigns for both rebels in conflict areas and the general public. It is highly significant to engage armed groups in education about how violations of the right to education constitute a serious breach of international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime and a crime against humanity, Her Excellency pointed out, calling also for documenting and probing attacks on education, publishing sweeping reports to facilitate accountability, as well as persuading more states and parties to ratify and abide by the Safe Schools Declaration.
Her Excellency believed that the Transforming Education Summit (TES) to be held in Sep. 2022 in New York, could be the appropriate place for all countries and stakeholders to exchange ideas and views on how to put education at the top of the political agenda to mobilize action and support to transform education in this changing world.
Her Excellency concluded that the responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill the right to education makes it necessary to adopt a multidimensional approach that places education at the top of priorities in terms of policy-making, financing, allocation and provision of assistance, stressing that this objective will only be reached through protecting schools, universities and all educational facilities from attacks and recognizing their civilian nature to ensure that they will always remain safe havens to promote peace, development and stability.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs