The escalating conflict and ongoing military actions in Ukraine are putting children and adolescents at grave risk, said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN’s global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, on Friday.
The crisis is threatening the lives and wellbeing of an estimated 7.5 million girls and boys across the country, including potential profound disruptions to their education.
“We call for a strict adherence to international humanitarian law for civilians to be protected from harm. In particular, students, schools, and education personnel must be protected from attacks, and education facilities must be protected from military use, in line with the Safe Schools Declaration.
“There are already reports of education facilities having been damaged by heavy weapons fire along the line of contact. Since 2014, the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has destroyed, damaged or forced the closure of hundreds of schools. Girls and boys have a fundamental right to learn in safety and without fear. The children and adolescents of Ukraine deserve better.
“History must not repeat itself,” she said.
“Together with our strategic partners across the UN system, governments and civil society, Education Cannot Wait has supported safe and protective learning environments for girls and boys affected by the eight-year conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“We stand ready to extend our support to respond to escalating needs and urgently protect children and adolescents,” Sherif added.