Education International welcomes the move by El Salvador to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, committing itself to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities during times of violent conflict.
El Salvador has become the latest country to endorse the international political commitment known as the Safe Schools Declaration. The commendation was issued on 15 November by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), an inter-agency coalition formed in 2010 to address the issue of targeted attacks on education during armed conflict.
GCPEA reports that a series of attacks on schools and universities has occurred in 28 countries experiencing armed conflict and insecurity since 2013. The use of schools and universities by armed forces and armed groups is also widespread.
The Safe Schools Declaration is a political commitment championed by Argentina and Norway. The 71 endorsing countries are from all regions of the world, and include countries that are at war and at peace. Two-thirds of NATO countries, three-quarters of European Union members, and one-third of African Union members have joined.
Governments that endorse the Declaration commit to using the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict as a practical tool to guide their behavior during military operations. Avoiding military use of schools and universities is a key way in which armed forces and armed groups can reduce the risks faced by children and young people in armed conflict, including death, severe injury, child recruitment, sexual exploitation and abuse, and psychological trauma. Girls and women are often disproportionately impacted by attacks on education and military use of schools.