Attacks on education occur around the world, both inside and outside of situations of armed conflict. In many regions, armed groups intentionally target schools, teachers, and students. These attacks violate the rights of the child: in addition to putting children at risk of injury or death, they can thwart students' chance to get an education. Attacks on schools, teachers, and students can cause children to drop out or go to school less often, force schools to cut their hours, and destroy school buildings and materials. In environments of violence and fear, the quality of children's education is severely diminished. Human Rights Watch defines "attacks on education" as encompassing the full range of violations that place children at risk and deny them access to education. This includes attacks on school infrastructure and on teachers and students; the occupation of schools by the police and military; harassment and threats against teachers, parents, and students; and the recruitment of children from schools to become soldiers. Human Rights Watch calls on states to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, an international commitment to protect schools and universities from being attacked or used for military purposes in times of armed conflict.

  • Afghanistan
    UN Women, UNICEF and Human Rights Watch jointly issue this fifteenth alert to continue to highlight the gender specific impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. This alert focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls’ education and the long-lasting consequences it will have on gender equality, women’s human rights and Afghanistan’s development and peace efforts. It highlights how the health crisis has further reduced already severely limited access to education for women and girls, and how this is likely to have profound and lasting effects with the potential to undermine progress on women’s rights and gender equality achieved over the last two decades.
    Gender Alert on Covid-19 Afghanistan
  • Middle East/North Africa
    We write in advance of the 79th pre-session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and its review of the Arab Republic of Egypt’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
  • Global
    Students strike against sexist violence in Madrid, Spain, March 6, 2020. 
    Building Equitable Futures by Investing in Girls

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