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Photo: Sami Shamsan / Save the Children.  - Photo:Photo: Sami Shamsan / Save the Children.
Photo: Sami Shamsan / Save the Children. Photo: Sami Shamsan / Save the Children.

70 States Have Endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration

The Safe Schools Declaration is an international initiative aiming to strengthen the protection of students, teachers, schools, and universities during armed conflict. The Declaration was developed through a consultative process led by Argentina and Norway.

Today seventy countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, including the majority of both European Union and NATO member states. The latest country to join is the Republic of Yemen.

The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during times of armed conflict. It stresses the importance of continuing education during armed conflict.

The Declaration was developed through consultations with states in a process led by Norway and Argentina in Geneva in early 2015, and was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools on 29 May 2015. In March 2017, Argentina was the host of the Second International Conference on Safe Schools in Buenos Aires.

By joining the Declaration, countries pledge to restore access to education when schools are attacked, and undertake to make it less likely that students, teachers, and schools will be attacked in the first place. They agree to deter such attacks by promising to investigate and prosecute war crimes involving schools, and to minimize the use of schools for military purposes so they do not become targets for attack.

Norway calls on more states to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, thereby joining the growing number of states who are acting to safeguard education, even in wartime.

The procedure for endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration is as follows:

Send a letter confirming the endorsement, signed by a government official, addressed to either 1) a duty station (Embassy or Permanent Mission) of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or 2)  the Norwegian Ministry‚Äôs Section for Humanitarian Affairs (To: seksjon.for.humanitaere.sporsmal@mfa.no, CC: Anne.Karine.Jahren@mfa.no).