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Education under Attack 2018

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is composed by CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Institute of International Education/ IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), Save the Children, UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNHCR. Its mission is the protection of students, teachers, schools, and universities from attacks around the world. 

Education under Attack 2018 is at its fourth edition. The first two were published by UNESCO in 2007 and 2010, the third by GCPEA in 2014. This report covers the period between 2013 and 2018 and focuses on the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.

According to the report, between 2013 and 2017 attacks on education have been carried out in 74 countries (including the 28 above mentioned), registering an increase in violence directed towards students, educators and their institutions compared to the 2014 report (where attacks were registered in 70 countries). The report takes into consideration six categories of attacks on education, one of which regards higher education (HE)

Attacks on HE include attacks on universities, technical and vocational education training institutes, and other HE facilities, as well as attacks that target students, professors, and other HE staff. This category includes violent repression of demonstrations related to education matters such as policies and laws, or of on-campus protests, during which state security forces kill, seriously injure, or otherwise use excessive force against university students or staff. Attacks on HE also include deliberate acts of coercion, intimidation, or threats of physical force that create a climate of fear and repression that undermines academic freedom and educational functions. This report excludes violations such as infringement on academic freedom that does not consist of either physical violence or the threat of physical violence. While the detention of academics is included when imprisonment occurs in relation to their scholarship because this is a physical punishment, the report does not track violations such as the suspension of academics, censorship of research, travel bans, or revocation of citizenship.

Overall, reported attacks on HE appeared to be more widespread from 2013 to 2017 than previously documented. GCPEA found reports of attacks on HE facilities and other property in 28 countries, including 20 of the 28 countries profiled in the report. Of the profiled countries, HE facilities were attacked in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. Attacks on HE personnel, including targeted killings, abductions, threats, harassment, or violent repression of education-related protests that injured or killed a student or university staff member, were found in 52 countries, including every country profiled in this report. The countries with the highest number of reported attacks on HE facilities were Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. This included attacks with explosives and gunmen targeting university campuses. There were also widely-reported deadly attacks on universities in several other countries, including Pakistan and Kenya. 

The report also provides possible solutions, such as the endorsement and implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment to protect education during armed conflict, and provides a set of recommendations.  

Read the full report here