A report by global children’s charity, Theirworld, revealed that in 2017 more than 60 schools were forced to close in Ukraine due to conflict that has been ongoing for more than 3 years.
Since 2014, fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces has not only resulted in over 1.5 million displacements, but has also caused vast disturbances in children’s education with the continuous closure of schools.
Theirworld reported that “42 schools and education facilities were damaged due to the conflict in 2017. Another 22 had to close for days or weeks because of violence nearby,” which meant that more than 4,000 children were affected.
The charity also revealed that schools were being damaged every single month due to the fighting.
The Ukraine Education Cluster of humanitarian organisations (which includes UNICEF) requested that both sides of the conflict must respect the rules of international humanitarian law which detail that schools must never be in the line of fire.
This comes after it was revealed some of the fighting had occurred during the day when children were attending school, “putting them at immediate risk”.
Such a request is even more pertinent now that it is apparent Ukraine is one of the 72 countries not party to the Safe Schools Declaration, which aims to halt the military use of schools.
Unfortunately, figures from UNICEF show that “more than 200,000 children needed urgent and sustained psychosocial support after living through more than three years of violence”.
This is corroborated by the remarks of Ukrainian teacher, Olga Prais, who said that “children from my city can distinguish between the sounds of explosions of different caliber shells. They know far too much about weapons”.
Demand the termination of the military use of school by signing Theirworld’s Safe Schools Declaration petition here.Europe, International Human Rights / Humanitarian Law