Goals and Recommendations

This Afghan youth’s school was damaged in a bombing that killed the principal and wounded another school employee in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.
© 2011 AP Rahmat Gul
GCPEA has developed the following goals and recommendations to aid our expanding network of united organizations in our main objectives: monitoring and reporting violations; enforcing programmatic measures for prevention and protection, and restriction of military use and occupation of schools.


  1. To highlight the incidence and impact of attacks on education in conflict and insecurity among key actors and cultivate public support for safe education.
  2. To promote better systems for monitoring and reporting attacks on education.
  3. To promote effective programmes and policy to protect education from attack, including prevention and response.
  4. To encourage adherence to existing international law protecting education and the strengthening of international norms and standards as needed; and
  5. To fight impunity for attacks on education by promoting and supporting a range of accountability measures.


  1. Incidents and Impact of Attacks On Education

    • The international community, states, non-state groups, and other actors should acknowledge that conflict limits educational opportunities for millions of students worldwide, and that attacks on education are a common tactic in conflict that requires a concerted response at both the country and international levels. When educators, students, and education institutions are attacked and education institutions are used for military purposes, the damage to societies as well as individuals is severe and long-lasting.
  2. Monitoring and Reporting

    • States, local organizations, and relevant international agencies should rigorously monitor attacks against education and use that information to devise effective, coordinated responses, including preventive interventions, rapid response, and both legal and non-legal accountability measures for perpetrators.
    • UN human rights monitoring mechanisms, including the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; the Human Rights Committee; the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, including the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, should give greater attention to monitoring and reporting on attacks on education.
    • Country task forces of the UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict should enhance the monitoring and reporting of attacks on schools, students, teachers and other persons related to the school (protected persons); threats of attacks against protected persons; and actions by parties to the conflict which impede children's access to education, including the military use of schools, as requested by the Security Council in Resolution 1998 of July 2011.
  3. Programmatic Measures

    • Relevant ministries and education actors in countries where attacks on education occur should establish preventive measures, such as early warning systems, and a rapid response system for attacks. International organizations should offer support for these efforts.
    • Education service providers and education policy practitioners should be encouraged to develop best practices in protecting education from attack.
    • States and other relevant actors should ensure that educators and their families whom attacks force to flee are offered protection, that the impact on education systems of their departure is addressed, and that, when possible, they are able to return.
  4. Adherence To and Strengthening of International Law

    • All parties to an armed conflict should abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and not commit attacks against education. Redress should be provided where violations have occurred.
    • Government officials and leaders of non-state armed groups should take all necessary steps to prevent attacks on education, including making clear public statements that attacks on education are prohibited, issuing clear military orders to this effect, and refraining from using education institutions for military purposes.
    • States should ensure that their domestic law criminalizes all elements of attacks on education in line with international humanitarian and human rights law, and institute policies, formalized in military and law enforcement manuals, training, and rules of engagement, that prohibit or at least minimize the use of education buildings and sites for military or law enforcement purposes. Similarly, UN and regional peacekeepers should ensure that their rules of engagement in military manuals include such prohibitions.
    • All parties to peace agreements and mediators should ensure that issues concerning the right to education be included in any post-conflict agreement, and that international legal protections for education are explicitly articulated.
  5. Accountability

    • States should systematically investigate and prosecute in accordance with international standards those individuals responsible for ordering, taking part in, or bearing command responsibility for the range of violations of international human rights, humanitarian, and criminal law that constitute attacks on education.
    • Tribunals at the domestic, regional, and international levels should give specific consideration to violations that constitute attacks against education during relevant investigations and pursue and prosecute cases of sufficient gravity over which they have jurisdiction.
    • Informal and transitional justice mechanisms, such as commissions of inquiry and truth and reconciliation commissions, should, where relevant, specifically recognize and concretely address attacks on education.