Mon 30 Apr 2007
Filed under: International,News
The United Nations reports that attacks targeting and effecting educational facilities, staff and students is increasing around the world, including inside Burma.
The report, “Education Under Attack” and issued by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), incorporates violence not only directed at physical destruction and the loss of life, but also includes violence that prevents children from attending schools as well as the use of children as soldiers.
In Burma, the report states that violence is preventing more and more children from having access to basic educational opportunities. A clear example of this is the recent forced migration of hundreds of locals from villages along the Thai border in the wake of persistent offensives by the Burmese Army and its allies.
Further, the report states that as recently as 2002 there were an estimated 70,000 child soldiers in Burma, some as young as 11 years old.
Speaking from UNESCO headquarters in Paris, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura commented, “Education is one of the pillars of development, prosperity and peace. It is a human right. We must do our utmost to defend and ensure the security of those in this vital area.”
The report warns that without innovative responses to the education crisis, conflict prone regions experience an increased risk of conflict arising out of a wider sense of dissatisfaction, beyond separatism; a crucial component of the dissatisfaction resulting from a lack of sensitivity by the government to local culture, language and history.
The report calls on the international community to stand united in an effort to end the impunity of those that perpetrate violence, while giving additional weight to human rights instruments in the struggle to curb educational violence.
“Education is now accepted as a necessary part of the initial response to an emergency created by conflict. The challenge now is to make education part of the solution to conflicts,” concludes the report.
Currently in Burma only one out of three children is said to complete at least five years of school.
Regional members Thailand and Nepal were also singled out as countries in which violence is having an increasingly negative impact on the educational system.