Target: Bede Sheppard, Children’s Rights Director at Human Rights Watch
Goal: Applaud efforts to save war-zone schools from being used as army bases
Military use of schools in war zones is an epidemic in developing countries. National armed forces and armed groups are responsible for countless civilian deaths, especially that of teachers and children, as they raid schools with the intention of converting them to hide-outs, prisons and barracks.
According to Human Rights Watch, forces have blown up schools and turned them into military training camps, weapons depots and specialized bases for military operations with no thought to the long-term effects these actions have on school children and their educators. Oftentimes, military forces only take up a certain part of the school, putting students who attempt to continue their education at grave risk of being injured or killed.
In a statement released by Bede Sheppard, Director of children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, he states “Schools should be filled with students, not soldiers. When armed forces take over schools, they put children and their education in the line of fire.”
Some other negative repercussions of military forces raiding schools are long-term closures, decline in the attendance of students and teachers, a reduction in overall enrollment, and adverse affects on a community’s economic standing and increase risk of abuse towards girls. In countries that are in conflict across Africa, South America and the Middle East countless schools and their attendants fight for the right to an education every day.
By signing this petition, you’ll support Bede Sheppard’s efforts to stop armed forces and groups from using schools for their own vicious, immoral reasons and support that every child have the right to a conflict-free learning environment.
Dear Bede Sheppard,
Your recent report on the use of schools as military facilities is not only eye-opening but heartbreaking to hear. Every child deserves the right to an education, but it is obvious that not all of us feel that way. Armed forces and groups don’t belong in schools, children and teachers do. The fact that some military groups would even consider converting a place of learning and growth into a prison, torture camp or weapons depot is appalling.
Education reform is a huge issue, both nationally and internationally, but it is good to know that there are people like you out there with a firm stance on the rights of children and the belief that war ravished countries should find other means of obtaining peace that don’t put children, teachers and whole communities at risk.
Your efforts are valorous, and I support you wholeheartedly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ali110 via morguefile