Public Statements in Support of the Guidelines and Safe Schools Declaration Process

The Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict draw on international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as good practice, to provide concrete guidance to states and non-state armed groups on how to reduce the use of schools and universities by armed parties and to minimize the negative impact that armed conflict has on students’ safety and education. The Guidelines were developed over several years of consultations with experts from governments, militaries, UN agencies, and international and human rights organizations spearheaded by GCPEA in 2012, and finalized in December 2014 under the leadership of Norway and Argentina. The Safe Schools Declaration, developed through state consultations led by Norway and Argentina in Geneva, throughout the first half of 2015 provides states the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict, and is the instrument for states to endorse and commit to implement the Guidelines. The Declaration was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools on May 29, 2015. 

 

The following public statements were issued by states and international organizations as the Guidelines and the Safe Schools Declaration were being developed. They represent the growing international interest in protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict:

 

 


 

Algeria

“We encourage this type of initiative because it gives us opportunities to come up with concrete ideas to protect schools and universities.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

"The deliberate targeting of schools by non-State armed groups, the military use of schools and children being used to carry explosive devices are just some of the most dramatic and horrifying cases. In that regard, we welcome the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, which provide concrete and relevant guidance for State and non-State armed groups alike in order to minimize the impact of the military use of schools during armed conflict and reduce their vulnerability to attacks."

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015

 

"I would like to thank Norway and Argentina for their tremendous work in the elaboration of these Guidelines. We support the noble objectives of the Guidelines and the process."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, March 27, 2015


Argentina

“[Security Council Resolution 2143] also expresses concern for the military use of schools, which is contrary to international law, considering that such use can turn the educational institutions into legitimate targets, thereby endangering the safety of teachers and students and education in general. That is why it calls on all parties to armed conflict to respect the civilian character of schools, while encouraging States to consider concrete measures to prevent the use of schools by armed forces and non-state armed groups in violation of international law. We believe that the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict are a clear step in this direction. That is why we have accompanied enthusiastically this process from the beginning and we hope that once completed, they can be supported by the States. It will represent a concrete measure that we can take for the protection of schools and educational universities during conflicts, as required in the Resolution of the Security Council. The Guidelines are intended to identify existing standards as well as to adapt the wording of legislation that already provides a generic protection to civilians and civilian property, when necessary, in order to obtain specific guidelines for the protection of schools and universities. In this sense, the document contributes to a better identification of the legislation that emerges both from the international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights on these issues.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“We have said that we condemn the use of schools for military purposes. It is a violation of international law when educational institutions become targets, since it endangers children, teachers and staff and jeopardizes the future of all humandkind. Argentina is committed to upholding the Lucens Guidelines designed to protect schools and universities from being used for military purposes in armed conflict.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014


Austria

“Austria welcomes the work by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack on the so-called Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

“Recent events have shown the timeliness of such a focus on protecting schools from military use, including as weapons storage facilities, and we therefore underline the Council’s call on Member States to consider concrete measures to deter the use of schools by armed forces and non-State armed groups. In this regard, the Network also takes note with interest of the work on the draft Lucens Guidelines on the military use of schools.” Statement on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, South Africa as an observer)

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014

 

"Every child should have access to education, including in regions of armed conflict. In that context, the Network reiterates the importance of resolution 2143 (2014). Recent events have shown the timeliness of a focus on protecting schools against attacks and avoiding their military use. The Network welcomes the draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict and efforts to disseminate and promote their implementation. Furthermore, we take note with interest of the ongoing consultations on the so-called Safe Schools Declaration to provide a broader framework for the Guidelines." Statement on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, South Africa as an observer)

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015

 

"We support the objective in raising awareness on attacks on schools and we commit ourselves to taking concrete steps towards the adoption of such declaration."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015

 

"We hope that many delegations will be able to support the [Safe Schools] Declaration that sends a clear message about the need to protect education under attack (...)”

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015

 


Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia  (joint statement)

“We are gravely concerned about the use of schools for any military purposes since it is detrimental to the children’s rights to education, jeopardizing their chances for the future. We would like to underline the right and access to education as a fundamental human right. Given that we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child it is high time that states live up to the commitment of providing education to all children, also during a conflict. Against this backdrop, we also welcome the work by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack on the so-called Lucens Guidelines. These are a very concrete step forward to protect educational institutions and to limit the negative impact of conflict on students’ safety and education.”

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2014


Brazil

"My delegation supports this [Safe Schools] Declaration". 

- Consultations on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, May 13, 2015


Chile

“We are in favour of drafting and implementing guidelines to reduce the use of schools and universities by parties to armed conflicts in support of their military actions and thus minimize the adverse effect of armed conflicts on the safety of students and education. In that connection, we note with interest guidelines formulated by civil society that could be a basis for Government action in this area. We believe that this issue should be covered in ceasefire agreements and in post-conflict agendas.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

"In order for resolution 2143 (2014), of which Chile was a sponsor, to be effectively implemented, we stress the importance of respecting the civilian nature of schools and condemn all attacks and threats of attacks against them, which contravene international humanitarian law and the right to education. We call on the parties to armed conflict to refrain from such actions and hope that the Secretary-General will continue to follow up and report, among other things, on the military use of schools and hospitals. In this regard, we view positively the preparation and implementation of the Lucens Guidelines, aimed at preventing the military use of schools and universities during armed conflicts."

-  Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015


Costa Rica

"This is a political declaration, a message that is coming from us, that we are building together, a clear and powerful message saying that the countries that are endorsing, signing, supporting this message, are ready to say ‘no more’ for children without education, (...) we are saying "no more attacks on schools and universities", we are saying "no more" for the use of children for military practices. (…) I think that we have to move forward and to endorse the Guidelines (…). We cross our arms when we are not in the capacity to endorse a political declaration with such a clear message".

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, April 30, 2015


Cote d’Ivoire

“The right to education is a fundamental one and it must be protected. For this reason, my delegation welcomes the Draft Lucens Guidelines.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

"Ivory Coast is involved in this process since the beginning because education is a fundamental right that needs to be protected (…). My delegation is supportive of this initiative and is willing to participate in the Oslo meeting."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015 


Croatia

"We would like to thank and express our appreciation for the efforts that both Argentina and Norway have made in delivering the guidelines and for your work on the declaration. As a country that went through war, we are very well aware of and understand the importance of this issue. (…) Croatia can wholeheartedly agree with the goals declaration and we offer our support."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015


Ecuador

"Thank you very much for the work that has been done by Argentina and Norway and we had a pleasure of having this document, discuss and send to the authorities in Ecuador and they are very supportive of the idea. First for the advancement of the international humanitarian law which we believe is important for the rights to education and also on children rights, it’s much interconnected."

- A discussion on a Safe Schools declaration and its Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, Palais des Nations, December 16, 2014

“Ecuador has been engaged in this process since the very beginning, this is about the right to education (…) Actually in my country, not only [did] we receive the Guidelines, but [we] also shared them with national authorities and they are preparing policies and they are taking into consideration the Guidelines already. (…) We would like to support the Guidelines and the Declaration in the draft as it is now. (…) We hope the next meeting will be really the last one because we are ready for Oslo.”

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015


European Parliament

"The European Parliament … [a]ddresses the following recommendations to the Commissioner for Development and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: … call on the Member States to join international efforts to prevent attacks against and the military use of schools by armed actors through endorsing the draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict."

- European Parliament recommendation to the Council on humanitarian engagement of armed non-state actors in child protection (2014/2012(INI)), March 12, 2014.


European Students Union

“As students we recognize the importance of safe places of learning. Just as we would not tolerate our armed forces turning our own classrooms into military bases, we do not want to see our armed forces using schools or universities for military purposes if deployed abroad. The European Students’ Union therefore strongly urges all countries — and especially our own governments — to not only endorse, but also implement into our countries’ own domestic military doctrine, policies, and trainings, the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.”

- European Students’ Union resolution at 67th board meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, December 5, 2014


Finland

“We would like to express our commitment to the Guidelines process. It is the firm belief of Finland that the continuation of education is extremely important for children, youth and even adults in conflict areas. Education provides a sense of normalcy and safety, and brings hope for the future. Education is also a powerful driver of economic and sustainable development, for more peaceful and equitable societies. Protecting education is therefore of key importance. Finland’s development policy program states that Finland promotes human development by advancing the lives of children, and particularly girls’ right to education, from early childhood all the way up to higher education. Building the capacity of educational institutions is also important. Thus, protecting education and schools and university from attack is central. We see the Draft Lucens Guidelines as a valuable and pragmatic contribution to promote respect for international humanitarian law and human rights… Finland looks forward to cooperating with you all on this issue, and we are committed to participating on the meetings of the supporting states.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014


Guatemala

"We underline the civilian nature of schools in accordance with international humanitarian law and strongly condemn the attacks in recent months in Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. We therefore have supported initiatives to combat the problem, such as the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, which we consider to provide a good framework for calling both State and non-State actors to immediately cease attacking and threatening schools, students and teachers and refrain from actions that impede the access of children to education."

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015 


International Committee of the Red Cross

“The military use of schools during armed conflict (e.g. as barracks, to conceal weapons, etc.) may violate international humanitarian law, and increases the risk of attacks against these schools. It also often results in schools being damaged, destroyed or otherwise made unusable (for example owing to the presence of explosive remnants of war, which can represent a permanent threat.) The impact of the military use of schools on children’s access to education can be complex, and long-lasting. The ICRC has followed with interest recent initiatives to prevent schools and universities from becoming part of the battlefield, such as the Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict which suggest practical measures that can be taken by parties to the conflict to bring about a shift in behaviour that could reduce the military use of schools and universities. In the ICRC's analysis, what is needed is not to change existing law, but rather to further work on better implementation of existing law having in mind, in particular, the principle of precautions against the effects of attacks as well as the special protection afforded to children under international humanitarian law.”

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2014

 

"The ICRC supported the process of drafting the Guidelines by contributing to the substance of the document. Our input and comments have been effectively integrated into the Guidelines. We consider that the Guidelines are not legally binding in themselves and that they do not propose to change existing law. We understand them as intended to lead to a shift in behavior in practice that may lead to a reduction in the military use of schools and universities. It was on the basis of this understanding that we gave our input to the Guidelines. We also perceive the draft Safe Schools Declaration in this sense. The Guidelines must be read against the background of existing international law on the subject matter they address, with all its details. It is that binding legal framework that determines the lawfulness of a particular operation under international law. However, we consider that the Guidelines can provide valuable practical guidance for those involved in the planning and execution of military operations. In relation to decisions over military use and targeting of institutions dedicated to education. We therefore also encourage our staff to consider using the Guidelines as a reference, among others, and have actively disseminated the Guidelines among our delegations."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015 


Liberia

“I also ask the GPE Board to support the Lucens Guidelines, which advocate that all parties in armed conflict must avoid infringements on students’ safety and education, using the Guidelines as a standard for responsible practice. I want to re-assure you that because of my commitment to this all important issue in the education and safety of our youth, I contributed to the development of the Guidelines in Lucens, Switzerland in November of 2012, and am working on behalf of my government to serve as a champion.

Remember, there will be just 500 more days remaining before the 2015 deadline to achieve universal primary education and to meet the Millennium Development Goal 2. This Goal cannot be reached if schools and universities continue to be used for military purposes during times of armed conflict or cannot be rebuilt after the cessation of conflict."

- Minister of Education, Global Partnership for Education, Second Replenishment Pledging Conference, June 26, 2014

 

"Thank you Norway and Argentina for not giving up on us. I am saying that because Liberia is a victim of what is been discussed and definitely our government is in total support of the draft [Safe Schools Declaration] thus far. Upon receipt of the oficial invitation, my government will be fully represented in Oslo because this issue is a very serious issue. We how difficult how difficult it is. The most important part of this draft for us are the Guidelines to protect schools and universities".

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015


Liechtenstein

“Liechtenstein strongly condemns the widespread intentional attacks on children and teachers at schools as a tool of warfare. We also deplore the military use of schools, which gravely endangers civilians and deprives children of their education. Both of these practices are clear violations of international humanitarian law. We urge States to take steps nationally as well as internationally to end these practices and to protect children’s right to education. We therefore welcome the draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict and hope for their widespread endorsement.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

“In 15 conflicts, parties used schools for military purposes. Liechtenstein reiterates its condemnation of those practices, which gravely endanger civilians and deprive children of their education. We urge States to take steps nationally and internationally to end those serious violations of international humanitarian law and to protect children’s right to education. We therefore welcome the draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, and hope for their widespread implementation.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014


Lithuania

“We welcome the development of Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. They may guide states to improve their domestic legislation and military doctrines. Some countries have already introduced legislation, jurisprudence or military policies restricting and prohibiting the military use of schools. The Philippines restricted the use of schools by their armed forces. Most recently South Sudan issued a military order prohibiting its armed forces from using schools. More states need to follow those examples.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

“The growing use of schools for military purposes and increase in attacks on schools not only seriously disrupt children’s right to access to education but is a violation of international humanitarian law. Schools must enjoy immunity from war… Lithuania welcomes the development of Lucens Guidelines. They may guide states to improve their domestic legislation and military doctrines. Some countries have already introduced legislation and relevant practices prohibiting the military use of schools. More states need to follow these examples.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“Earlier this year we adopted resolution 2143 (2014), with a key focus on the need to respect and protect schools from attacks and the use by armed forces or groups. The recent situation in Gaza reminded us once again of the huge gap between the letter of the resolution and its implementation.

It is deplorable that schools—the very places that should be safe havens for children—are subjected to attacks or are converted to military uses, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law. In fact, a recent study shows that since 2009 schools and universities have been used for military purposes in more than 30 countries: as barracks, detention centers, fighting positions, weapon-storage centres and so forth. Timely and accurate monitoring and reporting is crucial for responding to such attacks and for holding the perpetrators to account.

We all know that when soldiers move into schools, students and teachers are displaced, and education is disrupted for long months if not years. Again, girls' right to education is usually more affected, as parents may be particularly wary of sending their daughters to schools occupied by soldiers, for fear of sexual abuse and other sorts of violence.

Lithuania strongly condemns any and all attacks on schools and reminds all conflict parties of their obligation under international humanitarian law to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. We call on all States and non-State actors to abide by the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict as a practical measure for protecting schools from military use.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014


Luxembourg

“I would like to use this opportunity to express the support of Luxembourg to the Lucens Guidelines… Allow me to point out on this occasion that in the context of the Luxembourg presidency of the Security Council, resolution 2139 of which Luxembourg was a co-author and resolution 2143, which has been proposed by Luxembourg have been adopted unanimously. Both resolutions express a deep concern at the military use of schools and demand as well their demilitarization… Recognizing that education is not only a fundamental human right for all children but also one of the most efficient tools for development, Luxembourg tried through its actions at the UN to strengthen the protection of schools and education in times of armed conflict.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

"It is the imperative to prevent the use of schools and hospitals for military purposes and to prevent attacks against schools. In that respect, Luxembourg fully supports the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. We take this opportunity to encourage all Member States to do the same."

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015

 

"We condemn the use of schools for military purposes and therefore support the adoption of the Lucens Guidelines."
- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2015

 

"Luxembourg has already expressed its support to the guidelines at the December 2014 meeting. (...) We are very happy to see that the declaration has been drafted on the basis of the guidelines. We wish once again to underlying our support to this undergoing process."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015


Mexico

“We would like to recognize the efforts behind the drafting of the Guidelines. We have no doubt on the relevance and the timeliness of the Guidelines. You may remember Mexico’s commitment to fight against the involvement of children in armed conflicts in every way. As to the Guidelines themselves, we welcome the approach and we believe that the simplicity and pragmatism increase the likelihood of their widespread adoption.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014


Montenegro

“We remain gravely concerned about attacks on and the increasing use of schools for military purposes. That does not only have a devastating impact on children, but it is a violation of international humanitarian law. Schools can be converted into military targets, and students, teachers and learning facilities can indeed be made vulnerable to attacks and other forms of violence by parties in conflict. In line with resolution 2143 (2014), we call on parties to armed conflict to respect the civilian character of schools, while encouraging States to take measures to prevent the use of schools by armed forces and non-State armed groups.

As this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we have to remind ourselves that the right and access to education is a fundamental human right. Children must be provided education, even in situations of armed conflict. We have to make sure that all measures are taken to protect students, teachers, schools and universities from attack and military use. Against that backdrop, we welcome the development of the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict as a practical measure in protecting schools against military use. We support the work towards the finalization of the Lucens Guidelines and the process leading towards their broad endorsement.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014


Mozambique

"We have seen in our history schools, peoples, teachers, students being targeted, and (...) our own process of development has been affected by it. Chairs, we have read the text [Safe Schools Declaration] which has been introduced here (...) and we have also discussed the Guidelines with our capital. We think they will be very, very helpful in our own daily life in Mozambique. So, Mr. Chairman, we think that the documents our good and we can only express our strongest support and say in response to Ambassador Kongstad that we will be present in Oslo".

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, May 13, 2015.  


Netherlands

“We warmly welcome the initiative of the Coalition to create specific guidelines. The Guidelines not only restate existing rules that parties to armed conflict have to adhere to in relation to schools but they also contain good practice from around the world regarding the protection of schools. This good practice usefully serves as an invitation to parties to actually change behavior. My colleagues in The Hague have been involved in shaping the guidelines and we hope that more states and NGOs become involved in the initiative. We look forward to initiatives aimed at finalizing and further promoting the Guidelines.”

- Palais des Nations event onLucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“At an early stage, Netherlands had an active participation [in the development of the Lucens Guidelines]. The Netherlands remains closely involved in the further consultation on the guidelines, and calls for the involvement of other states, including states which are parties to an armed conflict.”

- Minister of Trade and Development, in answer to question in parliament, May 15, 2014

 

"The coalition is planning to organize an international conference on the Guidelines mid-2015, in order to increase the support from states and other actors. During this meeting, a political statement will be adopted also. The Netherlands will take part in this Conference to express the Dutch support for this initiative. Furthermore, the Netherlands is prepared to, in consultation with other countries among which NATO allies, dedicate itself to the practical implementation of the Guidelines." 

 

- Letter of Foreign Minister Bert Koenders to Amnesty International, Defence for Children, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children, Terre des hommes, Unicef and War Child, 16 March, 2015

 

"The Netherlands welcomes the initiative to develop Guidelines for the Protection of Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict."

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2015

 

"We welcome the initiative to develop non-binding Guidelines with voluntary commitments to further this aim. The Netherlands supports the Guidelines even though parts of it could be improved. We are committed to work with other states to promote the practical implementation of the Guidelines, as well as with civil society."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015


New Zealand

“The Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict deserve very serious consideration. They involve a practical and voluntary approach based on existing international humanitarian law and provide a resource for use by States to improve their own military policy and doctrines and to assist others to do likewise.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

“New Zealand is very pleased to restate its ongoing close interest in the Lucens Guidelines. In our view, the Guidelines merit serious consideration and they are obviously important for both states and non-state actors. We all know that the consequences of the conflicts that we witnessed around the world can be very grave. They may include children and young people experiencing gaps in their schooling and lacking access to essential educational resources. The consequences of those deficiencies and the trauma of the conflicts themselves continue to be felt long after the fighting stops. We note in particular the relevance of these guidelines to the education of girls; the right that girls have to education is one that the international community has fought hard for over many decades. Yet it is a right particularly vulnerable in the context of armed conflict, and we see the guidelines as being a very important step towards protecting the said right. We are pleased to see that the guidelines draw on both international humanitarian law and human rights norms on the right to education, and we note that the right to an education means nothing if students cannot attend their educational facilities. New Zealand’s current practices would be consistent with the Guidelines; nonetheless we propose to use these guidelines in planning military operations should we need to and to making operational decisions. We intend to draw on the Guidelines in New Zealand’s defense forces training on the law of armed conflict. Finally, we very much encourage other states and relevant parties to carefully and favorably consider the Guidelines and we look forward to further discussions on this very important and timely issue.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“New Zealand condemns the intentional targeting and military use of schools, teachers and students. It is unacceptable that any child be denied his or her right to education, and no family should ever fear sending its child to school.”

“New Zealand’s Defense Force operates under a structured framework around the use of schools, all underpinned by core principles, including the protection of civilians and children, and respect for children’s rights to education. New Zealand endorses the development of the Lucens Guidelines and encourages other states to do likewise.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014

 

"New Zealand fully supports both the Guidelines and the Declaration and we are very grateful for the lengthy, transparent and inclusive process and the drafting process that has been undertaken. (...) I look forward to participating in the Oslo meeting in June."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015


Nigeria

"The idea of these guidelines is the protection of schools during armed conflict and encouraging states to prevent the conversion of educational facilities into military premises. (…) We are encouraged that this initiative will help to strengthen international humanitarian law. We support the idea and call on all states to promote the protection of schools during armed conflict." 

- A discussion on a Safe Schools its declaration and Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, Palais des Nations, December 16, 2014


Norway

"Warring parties must be encouraged to commit to follow the Lucens Guidelines … and prevent behavior that makes schools more vulnerable to attack… Both before, during, and after a conflict, it is essential that a school seeks to be a neutral venue… The [Norwegian] Government will … be an advocate for the respect of international humanitarian law so that militarization and attacks on schools and universities is stopped, [and will] take a leadership role in promoting the Lucens Guidelines internationally… Norway has contributed in the development of these [Guidelines], and will support further efforts to disseminate these including through a network of states and civil society actors."

- “Education for Development” white paper, June 13, 2014

 

"Norway is very concerned about the negative immediate and long-term effects of … the military use of educational institutions and is ready to support efforts that can contribute to the immediate reduction, and eventual elimination, of such practices… We welcome the Lucens Guidelines… The Guidelines have been developed by a broad range of stakeholders and actors, and we see it as an important initiative that has a practical approach to tackling this issue… The aim is not to develop the guidelines into a legal instrument, but rather seek the commitment of state and non- state actors to refrain from any military use of schools even during armed conflict. Hopefully, the guidelines can be a practical tool supporting and supplementing the provisions in International Humanitarian Law. An initiative like this will need its “champions”; supporters that can assist the GCPEA in raising awareness and gaining recognition for the usefulness of guidelines. Norway is ready to provide our support. The most important task will be to gain recognition and commitment for the Lucens Guidelines from stakeholders both among states and as far as possible among armed non-state actors. This will require extensive advocacy globally, regionally and nationally from both states and civil society. We, on our part, look forward to working with states, NGOs and the Global Coalition to see how the guidelines can be promoted and implemented."

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

"We welcome the strong message to member states to adopt the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. Norway, together with Argentina, has taken the lead in promoting the Guidelines. We are now in a process of consulting states on a safe schools political declaration where the Guidelines are included. The aim is to adopt the Guidelines at an international meeting in Oslo, in June, where states will commit themselves to work towards safe schools for all".

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2015 

 


Palestine

"I would like first to thank all of those who contributed to the drafting of the Declaration and the Guidelines. As the state of Palestine we welcome those efforts and we very much support the ideas that are included in the Declaration."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015

"Consistent with its policy that schools should be safe sanctuaries to ensure the best possible environment for teaching and learning and that education should advance human rights principles by promoting inclusiveness, diversity and understanding, the state of Palestine fully supports the [Safe Schools] Declaration.”

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015


Portugal

“I will just mention how committed my country is to this process and to seeing it to a good harbor. Count on Portugal to be part of the efforts.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“Schools and education facilities are now part of the battlefield, as they are systematically being used as bases, barracks, weapon caches, detention centres and even torture chambers by regular armed forces and by armed non-State opposition groups.… That pattern needs to be reversed. Against that backdrop, Portugal supports the development of the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, which we have co-sponsored, as a concrete tool to protect educational facilities and limit the impact of conflict on students’ safety and their right to education.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014

 

"Schools and education facilities are being systematically used as barracks, firing positions, detention centres and torture chambers both by regular armed forces and by armed non-State opposition groups, endangering children and rendering them vulnerable to attack. Portugal endorses the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict as concrete guidelines to protect educational infrastructures from use by armed groups for military purposes and to minimize the negative impact that armed conflict has on education".

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015

"We continue to believe that this process, in which we have participated from the very beginning, and proudly so, is much more about changing behavior than changing the law (…). We are glad to support [the Safe Schools Declaration] as it stands. We plan to be present at Oslo.”

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015


Qatar

“We commend the efforts of the Global Coalition to formulate guidelines aimed at protecting schools and universities from military use.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014

 

“We are here today to support the initiative of the Draft Lucens Guidelines. These Guidelines, which aim at reducing the use of schools and universities by parties to armed conflict, provide an added value to the existing framework for the support of students and education in insecurity and conflict situations... That is why we demonstrate our commitment to these Guidelines and their process.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014


Secretary-General

“I am heartened that the resolution before you today seeks to encourage the development of voluntary guidelines to prevent the military use of schools in conflict areas. I urge Member States to commit to greater protection for these essential facilities in conflict zones by all parties.“

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014


Senegal

“This important document released by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack attests to the necessity to address this critical situation [of military use of schools]. Committed to maintain peace and security around the world, in particular in Africa, and to promote human rights, including rights of the child, Senegal expresses its support to better protect schools from military use.”

- Letter of Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo to Human Rights Watch, September 26, 2013


Slovenia

“Attacks on schools and the military use of schools put children and teachers at risk while denying children their right to education. We welcome the drafting of the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict and support their finalization, which should be followed by broad endorsement by States.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014


South Africa

“South Africa is fully aware of the incidents of using schools as a military tool during armed conflict. Education is one of the key elements of human rights and contributes to the development of children. Schools should be a safe area for children and using them as a military tool compromises their security whilst denying them their right to education. South Africa condemns such kind of action and calls upon all the conflicting parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and international human rights law. We share the sentiment that armed conflict causes the loss of education, kills ambitions and the development of children. In this regard, we are consulting with the relevant stakeholders across government to develop a permanent national position. South Africa’s preference in terms of development of laws and standards in international humanitarian law and international human rights law is to uphold the rules of international binding laws and not just mere guidelines. We will always consider guidelines as a transition to legally binding norms and standards. Finally, South Africa seeks the demilitarization of schools and civilian facilities in times of armed conflict.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014


South Sudan

“My delegation welcomes the initiative of Lucens Guidelines on the Military Use of Schools. In this connection, in 2012 SPLA issued a military directive order on the protection of children. This punitive order aimed at (a) recruiting children in SPLA, (b) occupying schools by military, this order set out punitive measures for the violators of this order.”

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2014

 

“We also pledge our support and adherence to the noble Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.”

- Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Global Partnership for Education, Second Replenishment Pledging Conference, June 26, 2014


Spain

"We totally share the concern of the impact of conflict on schools and universities and we recognize the special vulnerability of civilians in particular children. We would be very interested in engaging with you in the coming month both to work on these guidelines and in preparation of the conference next year."

- A discussion on a Safe Schools its declaration and Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, Palais des Nations, December 16, 2014


Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

“The Special Representative calls upon Member States to tackle this issue [of military use of schools] by taking concrete and proactive initiatives to protect schools and promote their civilian status, through the inclusion of protection elements in military training and doctrine and operational planning, as well as the incorporation of the recent Lucens Guidelines into national legislation.”

- Annual report of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict (A/HRC/25/46), December 26, 2013, para. 62.

 

"The Special Representative welcomes the release on 16 December 2014 of the “Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict”, (...) and encourages Member States to adopt them."

- Annual report of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict (A/HRC/28/54), December 29, 2014, para. 33.


Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway joint statement

“We welcome the drafting of the Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, and we are committed to supporting its finalization and endorsement by States.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 7, 2014


Switzerland

“Switzerland welcomes the drafting of the Guidelines and we are committed to supporting their finalization and endorsement. The military use of schools converts the school into a military target under international humanitarian law and makes students, teachers, and learning facilities not only vulnerable to attacks but also to reprisals and violence by parties to the armed conflict... Switzerland strongly condemns the widespread targeting of schools, teachers and students and the practice of using schools and universities for military purposes during armed conflict.. Switzerland calls on all parties to armed conflicts to refrain from the military use of schools. Switzerland calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to respect international humanitarian law and we reiterate that state parties have an obligation to impartially investigate and prosecute alleged violations committed by individuals responsible for the use of schools and universities in a manner that violates international law. We must fight against impunity of perpetrators of such serious violations. Switzerland therefore calls upon all UN member states to take the necessary measures to protect students, teachers, schools and universities from attack and military use. The Draft Lucens Guidelines presented here today are an excellent tool to this end, and can have an invaluable impact on people living in an armed conflict. We call upon states to endorse and implement these guidelines in their military policies and doctrine.”

- Palais des Nations event on Lucens Guidelines, April 2, 2014

 

“Switzerland welcomes the work of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack under the Lucens Guidelines.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014

 

"Switzerland supports the dissemination of the Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict."

- FDFA Action Plan for the protection of children associated with armed forces or groups in armed conflict 2014 – 2016, December, 2014

 

"Switzerland commends the work of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack and welcomes the conclusion of the Lucens Guidelines. The Guidelines provide a solid basis for the prevention of the use of schools and universities by armed forces and armed groups during armed conflicts. There is an urgent need for us to mobilize in order to better enforce international law and to put an end to serious violations of the rights of children."

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, March 25, 2015

 

"Switzerland welcomes the work of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack on the Lucens Guidelines and welcomes their finalization. Switzerland envisages to formally support them."

- Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council, March 12, 2015

 

"My country welcomes the process around this guidelines and the declaration and we remain strongly committed to supporting the guidelines under dissemination."

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, March 27, 2015


United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

“We have seen that too often, their schools, which should be safe havens, are not, as playgrounds become battlegrounds. Governments and non-State armed groups continue to use schools to store weapons, detain prisoners and house soldiers. …So UNICEF appreciates all the more the initiative from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack and its partners to advocate for schools as safe and protected spaces, including through the new Lucens Guidelines, which outline actions Governments can take to end military use of schools. UNICEF therefore calls on all Member States to support and implement the Lucens Guidelines so that schools remain places of learning and hope where children can build strong foundations for their futures and those of their families.”

- Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, September 8, 2014


United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown

“I urge all countries to adopt and implement the Lucens guidelines to prevent the military use of schools in conflict areas and to ensure greater protection for the civilian use of education establishments.”

Statement, July 24, 2014


Uruguay

"We believe that this is a very important initiative and we are ready to continue supporting it and we are happy with the text that we have before us". 

- Consultation on the Safe Schools Declaration, Palais des Nations, April 30, 2015