Education International welcomes the endorsement by the Republic of Moldova of the Safe Schools Declaration; a solemn government commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities during times of violent conflict.
The Republic of Moldova is the 86th state to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental pledge to protect schools and universities from targeted attacks and threats and protect students, teachers, and academics from murder, injury, rape, abduction, and recruitment by parties to the conflict. The Declaration covers education institutions and getting to and from those facilities. Moldova’s support was announced by the Global Coalition to Protect Education form Attack (GCPEA) on 17 April.
Moldova is also the 39th participating state in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the 37th member of the Council of Europe to join the growing community of states committed to taking concrete action to protect education during armed conflicts.
“Moldova’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration is significant given the challenges to the education sector that have arisen from the frozen conflict in Transdniestria,” said GCPEA Executive Director Diya Nijhowne. “The Declaration includes a commitment to promote conflict-sensitive education policies that foster peace rather than fuel tensions, which is particularly relevant to the context.”
Key conference on Safe Schools coming up soon
Moldova’s endorsement comes as Spain prepares to host the Third International Conference on Safe Schools, which will take place from 27-29 May in Palma de Mallorca.
During the conference, governments, international agencies, and non-governmental organisations will share their experience of protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities in situations of conflict and insecurity. The conference will pay special attention to the ways in which women and girls may be differently impacted by attacks on education than men and boys; emphasise the need to improve monitoring and reporting of attacks on education to inform prevention, mitigation, and accountability mechanisms; and identify concrete measures for avoiding military use of educational infrastructure.
A key component of the Safe Schools Declaration is the commitment to bring the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict into relevant domestic policy and operational frameworks.
According to GCPEA’s report, Education under Attack 2018, in at least 28 countries around the world, between 2013 and 2017, schools and universities were used for military purposes by armed forces and armed groups, depriving students of their right to education and risking the security of students, teachers, and staff.