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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

International Day to Protect Education from Attack - #UniteToProtect Campaign

11 September 2020


Video message by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet

11 September 2020

Around the world, disasters, conflict and violence keep millions of children out of school, denying them one of their most fundamental rights.

COVID-19 has brought additional and unprecedented challenges, leading to a major disruption of education.

School closures have affected over 1 billion students. Children in conflict zones are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic.

On this first International Day to Protect Education from Attack, I pledge my support to the 75 million children and young people in crisis-affected countries.

Sadly, this number is even rising.

Last year, schools continued to be attacked or used for military purposes, exposing teachers and students to the possibility of extreme violence.

Tens of thousands of children were forced to take part in hostilities and were exposed to a multitude of human rights violations.

Across the world – in situations of conflict, poverty, humanitarian crisis or health emergencies – we must avoid a generational catastrophe.

Education is a human right and a bedrock of just, inclusive and peaceful societies.

Educational disruptions have huge impacts on children’s lives and the futures of their communities.

We must provide them with a safe and secure environment to learn the skills they want and need.

On this International Day, we reaffirm our commitment to the right to education.

As we recover and build back better from the pandemic, let us #UniteToProtect education for all.