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Safe Schools Declaration: Canada & France endorse!

France and Canada have become the latest countries to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, announcing their endorsement during the international conference on the protection of children in armed conflicts, hosted in Paris by the French foreign ministry on 21 February 2017.

Committing to Protect Students, Teachers, Schools, and Universities during War

Fifty-nine countries have now endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, including the majority of both European Union and NATO member states.

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 May 29, 2015. Argentina has announced that they will host the Second International Conference on Safe Schools in Buenos Aires on March 28-29, 2017.

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 join France and Canada in endorsing 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 to send a letter confirming the endorsement, signed by a government official, addressed to a duty station (Embassy or Permanent Mission) of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or directly to the Norwegian Ministry’s Section for Humanitarian Affairs (To: seksjon.for.humanitaere.sporsmal@mfa.no, CC: Anne.Karine.Jahren@mfa.no).