Schools in more than 70 countries were attacked in the past five years – and girls in particular have faced increasing hostility, physical violence and abuse.
A report published today by United Nations Human Rights says: “Attacks against girls accessing education persist and, alarmingly, appear in some countries to be occurring with increasing regularity.”
It said that targeted attacks on girls trying to go to school, their families and teachers “are used to send a powerful, symbolic message about the socio-cultural role and status of girls and women”.
High-profiles attacks on schools between 2009 and 2014 included:
- The cold-blooded killing of more than 130 children in a Pakistani Taliban attack at a school in Peshawar in December 2014
- The abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists in April 2014
- The 2012 shooting of education activist Malala Yousafzai by members of the Taliban in Pakistan
- Several incidents of poisoning and acid attacks against schoolgirls in Afghanistan between 2012 and 2014
- The forced removal of girls from schools in Somalia to become “wives” of Al-Shabaab fighters in 2010
- The abduction and rape of girls at a Christian school in India in July 2013
Geneva-based UN Human Rights said the problem was spread across the world, adding: “Attacks involving sexual violence against teachers and girls in educational facilities or during the journey to or from them have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, the Philippines and Syria.”