Kurz: Protection of schools must be a priority in conflicts

Austria signs international declaration for the protection of schools

Vienna, 29 May 2015 -An international declaration for the protection of schools in armed conflicts has been adopted in Oslo today. Austria was in the core group of states backing the initiative. 

“This declaration takes an important step for the protection of schools against attacks and abuse for military purposes in the case of armed conflicts. It is concerned with restrictions for the military but also for non-state combatants. Adherence to these restrictions aims at not letting students and teachers become victims of the conflict”, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz underlined. 

In nearly all areas of conflict children are among the ones suffering the most. The continuation of classes in school provides at least some measure of normality and routine, especially for children, and opens chances for a professional future. The participants of the conference in Oslo, among them around 50 states as well as representatives of the UN and numerous NGOs agreed, that more efforts of the international community are needed for the better protection of schools during war. “So called lost generations, like for instance in Syria, where more than 2,5m children are not able to attend school for a prolonged period of time, must no longer be allowed ”, the Minister for Foreign Affairs closed.