We write in advance of the 96th pre-session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the “Committee”) and its review of Bahrain under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC). This submission solely focuses on the protection of education from attack.
Protection of Education from Attack
Since 2015, Bahrain has been a member of the Saudi Arabia-led intervention in Yemen, where schools have been attacked, and school children killed.
The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express political support for the protection of students, teachers, and schools during times of armed conflict; the importance of the continuation of education during armed conflict; and the implementation of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. As of June 2023, 118 states have endorsed the declaration, including 31 fellow members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Human Rights Watch recommends that the Committee ask the government of Bahrain:
- Are protections for schools from military use included in any policies, rules, or trainings for Bahrain’s armed forces?
Human Rights Watch encourages the Committee to call on the government of Bahrain to:
- Ensure Bahraini laws, policies, or trainings provide explicit protection for schools from military use during armed conflict.
- Endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration and encourage other regional states to do the same.
 See for example “Yemen: Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrike Near School,” Human Rights Watch news release, February 16, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/16/yemen-saudi-led-coalition-airstrike-near-school, and “Yemen: Coalition Bus Bombing Apparent War Crime,” Human Rights Watch news release, September 2, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/09/02/yemen-coalition-bus-bombing-apparent-war-crime.
 Safe Schools Declaration, May 28, 2015, https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/departementene/ud/vedlegg/utvikling/safe_schools_declaration.pdf (accessed May 12, 2023).
 Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, March 18, 2014, http://protectingeducation.org/sites/default/files/documents/guidelines_en.pdf (accessed May 12, 2023).
 The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, “Safe Schools Declaration Endorsements” (webpage), 2023, https://ssd.protectingeducation.org/endorsement/ (accessed May 12, 2023).