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Attack on Pakistan University reinforces need to ensure Safe Schools

Press release 20.01.2016 // Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende condemns the terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University, and emphasises Norway’s commitment to the Safe Schools Declaration.

‘I condemn the terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University in north-western Pakistan in the strongest possible terms. Education is a fundamental human right, and this attack on an educational institution is also an attack on Pakistan’s future, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende shortly after the attack that took place on 20 January 2016.

‘All schoolchildren and students should be able to feel safe on their way to and inside their schools and universities. This is a fundamental premise of Norway’s global education effort and of the Safe Schools Declaration that 51 countries have endorsed,’ said Mr Brende.

While education is fundamental to development and human rights, today, more than 28 million children are denied the chance to go to primary school because of armed conflict. This has a serious impact on students, teachers, the educational system, civil society and ultimately economic, political and social development in many areas of the world.

The protection of schools and universities is a key element of Norway’s education effort and of its humanitarian work. Norway has played a leading role in promoting the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict and the Safe Schools Declaration.

In May 2015, representatives from some 60 countries gathered in Oslo to work for safer schools and universities in areas of armed conflict. Read more about the initiative and the Oslo Conference here.