Yemen endorses Safe Schools Declaration in advance of UN Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Yemen has become the 70th country to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and commit to take concrete measures to enhance protection for schools, universities, students, teachers, and academics during armed conflict, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) today. Thousands of schools have been damaged or destroyed by all parties to the conflict since the outbreak of fighting in Yemen in 2011.
Yemen’s endorsement, signed by the Permanent Representative of the Yemeni Mission to the UN in New York, comes ahead of Tuesday’s UN Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, where countries will gather to discuss grave violations against children in armed conflict, including attacks on schools. In the annexes to his 2017 annual report to the Security Council, which will be presented at the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listed both the Houthis/Ansar Allah, and the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, as parties responsible for attacks on schools in Yemen. 
“Yemen’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration is particularly significant given the widespread targeting of education in the country,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA director. “GCPEA has documented a marked increase in attacks on schools, largely due to coalition airstrikes, since the violence escalated into a major conflict in 2015, and at least two dozen schools were used for military purposes in just the first eight months of 2017.”