UN member states urged to incorporate right to education in humanitarian aid

16:07, July 15, 2010      

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Food, water and shelters are necessary in humanitarian assistance, but do not miss one crucial point: make utmost efforts to support affected populations, children in particular, in natural disasters and armed conflicts in realizing their right to education, and such efforts should be incorporated into the list of humanitarian response, UN members states are told on Wednesday.

This was contained in a draft resolution, entitled "The right of education in emergency situations," which was presented to the UN General Assembly by Benin, Bosnia, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jordan, Nicaragua, Portugal and Qatar. The draft resolution will be surely adopted by the 192-member General Assembly.

The draft resolution called on member states to "implement strategies and policies to ensure and support the realization of the right to education as an integral element of humanitarian assistance and humanitarian response, to the maximum of their available resources."

The draft also requested members states "to ensure that the best possible systems of education are in place, including through the allocation of sufficient resources, the appropriate adaption of curricula and training of teachers, the implementation of risk assessments, disaster preparedness programs in schools, the legal framework for protection, and health and basic social services, so as to withstand emergencies."

The emergency situations are usually characterized by natural disasters and armed conflicts.

Education can play an important role "in supporting efforts in emergency situations to halt and prevent abuses committed against affected populations, in particular efforts to prevent all forms of violence, including rape and other acts of sexual violence, exploitation, trafficking in persons and the worst forms of child labor," the draft resolution said.

The draft resolution was "deeply concerned" that "the education sector was one of the most underfunded with respect to meeting the original requirements" in the humanitarian consolidated and flash appeals launched in 2009.

The draft condemned "the targeting of civilians as such in situations of armed conflict, including school children, students and teachers, as well as attacks on civilian objects such as educational institutions, as prohibited under international law."

The draft recommended the member states "ensure access to education in emergency situations to all affected populations, in accordance with their obligations under international law and without discrimination of any kind."

The draft resolution also urged member states "to implement gender-sensitive policies and program interventions, in order to ensure that populations affected by emergency situations have equal access to safe, quality and relevant education."

The draft called on "all parties concerned to ensure that all peace processes and agreements and post-conflict recovery, peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts, as well as reconstruction planning, are sensitive to the special and specific needs of women, children and youth."

The UN Millennium Declaration said that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, would be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys would have equal access to all levels of education by 2015.

Efforts are being made by member states to achieve the goals of "the Education for All" initiative agreed upon at the World Education Forum held in Dakar, capital of Senegal, in April 2000.

The international community launched the global advocacy initiative entitled "One million safe schools and hospitals" on April 8, 2010 in Manila, the Philippines, aimed at making schools and hospitals safer from disasters.

Source: Xinhua


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