Ten Latin American Countries Convene to Protect Education

Representatives from the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, public security, and national armed forces of 10 Latin American states met in Panama City on December 5-6, to discuss how to protect students, teachers, and schools from attack, and schools from military use, in wars around the world. All 10 countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, a political commitment developed by the governments of Norway and Argentina.

The workshop was hosted by the governments of Panama, Argentina, and Norway, and the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).

Together with regional and international peacekeeping and education experts, state representatives exchanged practices and experience regarding the protection of schools and universities during armed conflict. Participants in the workshop discussed ways in which their governments can meet the commitments made in the Safe Schools Declaration and, in particular, implement explicit protections for schools from being used for military purposes during wartime into relevant domestic policies and operational frameworks.

Latin American countries are significant contributors of police, military experts, and troops to UN peacekeeping operations, among them nine of the countries that have endorsed the Declaration: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

The Dominican Republic recently became the 72nd country to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, thereby joining a growing community of states committed to taking concrete action to protect education during armed conflict.

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