NEW YORK – 10 September 2020 – The UAE reiterated its continued commitment to upholding the rights of children around the world, particularly those in conflict situation, including protecting schools and preventing grave violations, as well as protecting the right to education and the need to provide opportunities for fulfilment and growth to the most vulnerable.

In a written statement to the UN Security Council for its Open Debate on children and armed conflict: attacks against schools as a grave violation of children’s rights, the UAE renewed its commitment to implementing Security Council resolutions aimed at mitigating the impact of armed conflict on children.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role that schools and teacher play around the world, but this is even more important for children living in conflict situation,” the UAE said. “Schools are not only civilian objects that should be protected under international humanitarian law. They are also critical for communities torn apart by conflict, and they are the places where children can look towards the future with the hope of learning skills and pursuing new opportunities.”

The UAE stated that protecting education as a critical lever to uplift entire communities is a longstanding priority for the UAE. In this regard, the UAE noted that since 2011, the UAE has donated USD 1.55 billion in support of education projects globally has also worked with UNICEF and other partners to support the education of 20 million children in 59 countries since 2017, including the rebuilding of 16 schools in Mosul and Baghdad in 2019 alone.

The UAE expressed deep concern for the high level of grave violations against children in 2019 and were alarmed by the high numbers of verified incidents of attacks against school. Schools continue to be targeted, putting the lives of teachers and students at risk. Terrorist and non-state armed groups often attack schools and teachers to instill fear in the population and spread their extremist ideology, and to disrupt the education system, forcibly recruit children, prevent the teaching of critical concepts such as tolerance and co-existence and undermine the education of girls. To this end, the UAE stated that perpetrators of such grave violations should be held accountable.

In coordination with other partners of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen, the UAE has taken concrete measures to support the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. This also includes the establishment of a Child Protection Unit and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Furthermore, the UAE urged UN Member States to recommit to the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.