Newspaper article International New York Times

Schoolgirls Are Facing More Threats, U.N. Says

Newspaper article International New York Times

Schoolgirls Are Facing More Threats, U.N. Says

Article excerpt

Educational institutions, teachers and students have been targeted despite legal protections of gender equality, according to a new United Nations report.

Attacks against girls attending school or seeking access to education appear to be increasing around the world despite legal protections of gender equality, according to a new report by the United Nations.

The report, posted on the website of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday, said attacks on schools have occurred in at least 70 countries from 2009 to 2014, and that many of the attacks were "specifically directed at girls, parents and teachers advocating for gender equality in education."

It also said that based on United Nations data, an estimated 3,600 attacks against educational institutions, teachers and students were recorded in 2012 alone.

Although constitutional guarantees are enshrined in more than 140 countries and a global consensus prevails on the right to education for all, the report said, "attacks against girls accessing education persist and, alarmingly, appear in some countries to be occurring with increased regularity."

The report, conducted by the Women's Human Rights and Gender section of the Human Rights Council, was an assessment based on a compilation of research, including by other United Nations agencies and outside rights groups and academics.

It did not provide year-by-year or country-by-country data to substantiate its assertion of an increase, but highlighted some of the brazen assaults on women and girls in school that have captivated the world's attention in recent years.

They included the Pakistani Taliban's assault on a school in Peshawar last December that killed at least 132 uniformed schoolchildren, both boys and girls; the abduction last April of nearly 300 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram, the radical Islamist insurgent group; the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize last year for her education activism; and numerous episodes of poisoning and acid attacks on schoolgirls in Afghanistan between 2012 and last year. …

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