• Attacks on education occur around the world, both inside and outside of situations of armed conflict. In many regions, armed groups intentionally target schools, teachers, and students. These attacks violate the rights of the child: in addition to putting children at risk of injury or death, they can thwart students' chance to get an education. Attacks on schools, teachers, and students can cause children to drop out or go to school less often, force schools to cut their hours, and destroy school buildings and materials. In environments of violence and fear, the quality of children's education is severely diminished. Human Rights Watch defines "attacks on education" as encompassing the full range of violations that place children at risk and deny them access to education. This includes attacks on school infrastructure and on teachers and students; the occupation of schools by the police and military; harassment and threats against teachers, parents, and students; and the recruitment of children from schools to become soldiers.

  • A boy sits inside his now-destroyed former classroom in Aleppo, Syria.
    The Syrian government has interrogated students and carried out violent assaults on their protests and military attacks on schools. An interactive map shows the destruction of schools across the country.

Reports

Education and Conflict

  • Nov 18, 2014
    On Nov. 20 25 years ago, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but we still aren’t doing enough to protect the youngest among us.
  • Nov 17, 2014

    The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations on November 20, 1989, establishing global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children, without discrimination. Countries that ratify the treaty pledge to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation, violence, and other forms of abuse and to advance the rights of children to education, health care, and a decent standard of living. The convention also addresses children’s rights to a name and nationality, to be heard, to be fairly treated when accused of offenses, when deprived of parental care, and other rights.

  • Oct 17, 2014
    They’re going to need an extra-big stage in Oslo this year. When Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai pick up their Nobel Peace Prizes, there are going to be a lot of other winners standing alongside them. About 2.2 billion, in fact.
  • Oct 13, 2014
    Afghanistan’s new government should take urgent steps to combat sexual harassment of women in education, employment, and public life. There are no laws in Afghanistan that specifically prohibit sexual harassment or protect victims.
  • Oct 10, 2014
    The awarding of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to the 17-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai honors students around the world who take great risks to learn in the face of adversity and conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. Yousafzai is a tenacious advocate for the rights of all children, and girls in particular, to go to school and receive a quality education, free from discrimination and fear.
  • Sep 12, 2014
    The morning roll call will be a particularly morbid affair on the first day of school in Gaza this Sunday. Hundreds of students, killed in the recent fighting, will be forever marked absent.
  • Sep 10, 2014
    Three Israeli attacks that damaged Gaza schools housing displaced people caused numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war.
  • Sep 9, 2014
    Yazidi refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan now sleep in classrooms, hallways, and the courtyards of facilities intended for children’s education. What happens when school starts?
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Aug 17, 2014