Owen Thompson MP for Midlothian has written to the Foreign Secretary urging the UK Government to sign up to the Safe Schools Declaration, a UN initiative to prevent schools and schoolchildren from becoming victims of war.
The declaration was launched in Norway last year, in the presence of, amongst others, the father of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot and injured by the Taliban.
Unicef, the United Nations children’s fund, along with children’s charities, is promoting a “safe schools declaration”, setting out guidelines for how armed forces can avoid targeting schools in war.
Owen Thompson said:
“All children deserve a safe, secure upbringing, which facilitates a better economic future for their countries, even those at war.
“The occupation of schools and other public buildings during conflict, and the potential for exposing children to violence and exploitation is something I find especially concerning.
“The Safe Schools Declaration was developed to provide countries with the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict.
“These guidelines have already been signed by over 50 countries including Norway, Sweden and Ireland. I am concerned and disappointed that the UK government are not already signed up to this Safe Schools Declaration.”