The surge in armed violence across the West and Central Africa region, in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, is having a devastating impact on children’s survival, education, protection and development.
On top of the general insecurity and increased violence leading to mass displacements, deliberate attacks and threats on schools and against teachers and students, in school or on their way to school, are becoming more and more common, which further worsens the situation of children and jeopardizes their future.
The Safe Schools Declaration, which has been endorsed by almost all West and Central African states, provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting education from attack during times of armed conflict; the importance of the continuation of education; and the implementation of concrete measures to deter the military use of schools.
Gathered in Abuja for the fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration, world leaders have the opportunity to reflect on what is needed and to commit to key actions to stop attacks on schools, teachers and students, and to protect all children now and for the future generations.
The failure to bring about concrete solutions to safeguard children’s education means accepting the sacrifice of an entire generation with devastating impact on the socio-economic development of the region and prospects for peace, now and in the years to come.