Attacks: Education is an emergency, defending it concerns us all!

Paris, 21 October 2020. On 16 October, Samuel Paty, teacherwas violently murdered à Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. The condemnation and indignation, both national and international, following this heinous act are equal to the shock caused by this new murderous attack. The Education Coalition reminds us that violence against the educational community is a (sad) reality today, and recurrent, in many countries. AAs the Ministerial Roundtable on the Central Sahel takes place today, the Education Coalition calls on France to step up international efforts to promote education as a lever for human development and the fight against all forms of poverty.It is also important to ensure that the protection of education is firmly placed on the humanitarian and development agenda. " PMore than ever, education is an emergency, and defending it concerns us all!

Samuel Paty was murdered because he was a teacher.  In France, as in many other countries, education is today the target of chronic and recurrent attacks by extremist, terrorist, communitarian and obscurantist movements. Why is this so?  Because education helps children and young people to better understand the society in which they live in order to better evolve and find their place, now and in the future; because it teaches non-violence, living together and tolerance; because it opens up horizons and fights against ignorance; because it raises awareness of one's rights, trains critical thinking and the enlightened citizens of tomorrow; because it works for a better world, a world of peace. 

In Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso... In countries in crisis and/or fragile situations, education is regularly targeted by extremely violent attacks. Between January and July 2020 alone, 90 incidents against education were reported in the Central Sahel region, including more than 40 in Burkina Faso, where the largest number of attacks on the education sector have recently taken place. Every day, teachers and students are threatened and abducted on their way to or from school. Schools are burned, looted and used for military purposes. Insecurity and violence are now major obstacles to access and the right to education for everyone in the world - almost a fifth of the world's children live in a conflict zone - and particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalised, including girls. 

"For 40 years, we have been affirming that only access to quality education, and in particular education for peace, non-violence, world citizenship, etc., promoting the greatest possible social and cultural diversity, will make it possible to fight against all forms of communitarianism and the global rise of extremism and violence. says Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER, Director General of Aide et ActionA member of the Steering Committee of the Education Coalition, a development through education association.

On 9 September, the first International Day for the Protection of Education from Attack alerted to the plight of education and expressed serious concerns about the recurrent violence against this fundamental right. The Education Coalition is now calling for no let-up. " Access to quality education for all, for the most vulnerable and marginalised, and especially for girls, is more than ever a priority. In view of the current challenges facing societies and humanity, more than ever, education is an emergency, defending it concerns us all! "calls Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER. 

At this time of great concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, which is already undermining access and the right to education worldwide, we, the members of the Education Coalition, recall the importance of international solidarity and the absolute necessity to prioritise and fund measures to prevent, mitigate and respond to attacks on education within humanitarian and development response plans and programmes. We call on France, as a signatory, to ensure concerted support for the adoption and implementation by other states of the Safe Schools DeclarationThe International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - now endorsed by 105 states - to protect students, teachers and educational institutions - both formal and non-formal - to ensure the right to education for all, everywhere.

About Aide et Action : Founded in 1981, Aide et Action, an association for development through education, ensures access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, especially children, girls and women, so that all can master their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world. We promote lifelong learning because access to quality education helps to fight poverty and disease, limit climate change and build peace in a sustainable world. In this way, we promote  special attention to early childhood care and education, access to and quality of education at primary and secondary levels, and vocational training and social inclusion. Based on the values of dignity, inclusion and integrity, as well as on the principles of transparency, accountability and solidarity, and thanks to the support of our 51,000 donors, we are currently running 83 projects in Africa, Asia, Europe - and particularly in France - for more than 1.9 million children, young people and adults. 

About the Education Coalition : The Education Coalition brings together 20 organisations  French civil society: trade unions, international solidarity associations, NGOs defending the right to education, popular education organisations. Together, we demand the right to inclusive quality education for all, especially for the most vulnerable, and affirm that international solidarity is necessary to lead this struggle.

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