Security Council adopts ‘first of its kind’ resolution on protecting classrooms from conflict

Asha Bajaj
2 min readOct 30, 2021

#UNPeaceAndSecurity’ #ClassroomConflicts; #RightsofEducation; #ChildrenAndArmedConflict

Acting unanimously on Friday, the Security Council adopted a unique resolution strongly condemning attacks against schools, children, and teachers and urging conflict parties to immediately safeguard the right to education.

Since the fighting began in early 2014 in eastern Ukraine, educational facilities on both sides of the contact line have been damaged or destroyed (file photo). Image credit: © UNICEF/Aleksey Filippov

While the 15-member Council has issued previous statements decrying attacks on schools, this is its first resolution to explicitly focus on the link between education and peace and security.

‘Invaluable role’ of education

Through resolution 2601 (2021), delegates emphasized the invaluable role education plays for individuals and society, including as life-saving safe spaces. They noted that providing, protecting and facilitating the continuation of education in armed conflict, should remain a key priority for the international community.

The Council also urged countries to develop domestic legal frameworks to ensure respect for their relevant international legal obligations — including comprehensive measures to prevent attacks against schools, children, teachers, and other related civilians.

Among other elements of the text, members requested the establishment of strategies and coordination mechanisms for the exchange of information on the protection of schools and education, including among States, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and UN peacekeeping and political missions.

Escalating attacks

The issue of education in conflict settings has gained prominence in the Security Council and the UN more broadly in recent years, as devastating attacks on schools and related civilians have escalated around the globe.

According to UN data, more than 22,000 students, teachers and academics were injured, killed or harmed in attacks on education during armed conflict or insecurity over the past five years.

The Secretary-General’s 2020 and 2021 annual reports on children and armed conflict also spotlighted the increase in attacks against schools.

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women