The Right to Education and its Denial in Conflict Situations
All children have a fundamental right to education enabling them to learn, grow and eventually become successful members of society. Unfortunately today, in many developing nations this isn’t a reality. Children do not have access to schools for a variety of reasons. Their school might have been destroyed in war as a abundance of schools were during the second civil war in Sudan which ended in 2005 and in the more recent post presidential election violence in the Ivory Coast. In other cases, schools and students are the direct targets, like in Afghanistan, where recently the Taliban deliberately bombed a primary school because girls were aloud to attend. Schools can also be used as military recruiting sites, making them unsafe and causing a large number of students to drop out. In Sri Lanka, during the civil war which ended in 2009, in addition to using schools as a recruitment base, the Tamil Tigers also recruited students on their way to and from school as child soldiers.
For children in these poor nations, education is a vital key that unlocks the door to opportunities that will allow them to beat poverty, pursue careers and reach their goals in life. However today armed conflict, primarily concentrated in Africa and the Middle East, is a major blockade to learning for children. Both the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are working round- the- clock to rectify this situation. In conjunction with NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) they’re developing programs to increase the access of students to education and working to meet the United Nations second Millennium Development Goal. This goal, set in 1995, states that universal primary education be available to all children by 2015. Programs such as UNICEF’s “School in a Box” which delivers a portable classroom for up to 40 students primarily in refugee camps, and UNESCO’s “LIFE” program (The Literary Initiative for empowerment) which assists nations in developing and implementing a literacy curriculum, are just two of the numerous programs these bodies develop to help meet this goal.
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