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Safe school declaration: 112 UN Member States express political commitment -NHRC

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THE National Human Rights Commission  (NHRC) on Tuesday said that 112 UN UN Member States have expressed political commitment to ensure the general protection of education from attack.

Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary,  NHRC stated this in his welcome address at a multi-stakeholders forum on safe schools declaration in Abuja.

The theme of the forum is:”Making Commitments a Reality: Towards the Abuja Conference”.

Ojukwu further stated that the forum was taking place in preparation for the upcoming Fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration( SSD) which would focus on ” Ensuring Safe Education For All: From Commitment to Practice.

The News Agency of Nigeria  (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Safe Schools Declaration Ratification Document on Dec. 31, 2019 signalling the country’s commitment to its implementation.

” The Abuja Conference is the Fourth International  Conference on SSD,  a biennial  conference for states,  multilateral  and civil society organisations  (CSOs),  to exchange experiences and present their strategies,  progress,  as well as challenges,  in making the commitment  to safe education a reality for all children.

” Since the safe schools declaration  is open for endorsement,  112 UN member states  have expressed political commitment to ensure the safety of civilians, preservation of the civilian character of education facilities  and the general protection of education from attack ” Ojukwu said.

He said the conference will highlight the experiences in addressing attacks on education from the affected region adding that it is the first ever to be held in Africa.

“Government ‘s commitment to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights is demonstrated by the fact that Nigeria is a party to all major regional and international human rights instruments.

” It has also put in place domestic laws such as the Child Rights  Act,  2003 and Universal basic Education Act, 2004 which also upholds the Right to education.

“According to the Education under Attack 2020 report,  over 11, 000 attacks on education were reported between 2015 and 2019 harming over 22, 000 students and teachers in 93 countries and a significant number further reported in 2020″ he said.

Ojukwu said that since the advent of democracy in Nigeria,  the country has been bedevilled  by various conflicts.

According to him,  these conflicts and crises have devastating effects on lives and properties and also impacted negatively on the Rights and Access to Education.

” The various forms of attacks on schools and educational facilities being experienced in Nigeria have led to the killing and abduction of thousands of learners, teachers and education personnel.

” The need to better protect education is more pressing now than ever.

” The National Human Rights Commission’s role in advancing the Safe Schools  Declaration has become crucial as a response to the spate of abductions and kidnapping of school children even within the confines of their schools ” Ojukwu said.

He said that the community -based protection monitoring intervention by the Commission across serveral Northern States will increasingly mainstream theory Safe Schools Declaration.

He thanked all development partners for organising the forum.

Mr Sonny Echono, permanent secretary, Ministry of Education, who was represented by Dr Uchenna Udoji said that the aim of the Abuja Safe Schools Declaration conference coming up on Oct. 25 was to strengthen the implementation of the declaration.

He added that the conference aimed at sharing knowledge,  cooperation  and coordination towards protection of education.

” To share good practices in implementating key commitments in the declaration,  to inspire other states to adopt the practice within their own context

” To forge global cooperation and strengthen coordination  in the protection of education

” And deter military use of schools and universities by bringingĺ together Education, Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries as well as multilateral and civil society organisations to discuss prevention and response measures.

” Also to identify what  governments can take to better achieve accountability for attacks on education and justice for victims,  by building and strengthening international and national legal mechanisms ” he stated.

He added further that Nigeria is co-hosting the conference with the Africa Union Commission  (AUC) the government’s of Argentina, Norway and Spain as well as the Global Coalition to protect Education from Attack.

NAN reports that those who attended the forum include in the Ambassadors of Spain and Argentina and representatives of Norway, among others. 

NAN

- Sept. 28, 2021 @ 19:08 GMT |

Tags: #NHRC

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