Today the Norwegian Government has announced its intention to lead global efforts to promote new guidelines that aim to protect schools from military use. Action on Armed Violence applauds Norway’s leadership on the issue, and joins calls for all countries to back and finalise these progressive standards.
The Draft Lucens Guidelines have been drafted by countries from around the world, together with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). These guidelines urge parties to armed conflict not to use schools and universities for any purpose in support of the military effort. They are meant as a guide to responsible practice.
AOAV, as the only charity that documents the global impact of explosive weapons, has seen the hugely-negative impact that attacks on schools and universities can have. In the last three years AOAV has seen more than 100 incidents of explosive violence in and near places of education in over twenty countries. These attacks have caused 1,799 civilian casualties.
In 2013 there was a notable increase in explosive weapons use in and around schools. AOAV recorded 1,060 civilian deaths and injuries in schools, almost the double the total recorded in 2012 from English-language media sources. More than a quarter (27%) of the casualties in schools in 2013 were reported to be children.
Explosive weapon use is just one part of a much wider problem. Schools are at threat from armed violence issues, including abduction and forced exile, military use of schools, physical damage of education buildings and materials, and sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers.
AOAV congratulates Norway on today’s announcement, and welcomes renewed efforts to see an end to these threats to places of education.
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