In Oslo yesterday, where the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded, Save the Children held its 18th annual Peace Prize party for 6,000 school children on an outdoor stage.
Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi attended the party to share their experiences and answer questions from the children. The children and students learned more about their efforts to protect children’s rights and education, and shared their own views. The one-hour program was designed and hosted by a children’s committee.
Children’s right to education is under attack in more than 70 countries, causing millions of children to lose out on school because of war and conflict. Awarding the Nobel Peace prize to Malala marks a unique opportunity to awaken decision makers, give hope to students and reiterate our condemnation of all attacks on education.
“Children have the right to education even when living in countries affected by conflict,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, referring to recent attacks on schools and school children in Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. “Attacks on schools cause irreparable damage to children’s education by cutting off their access to school, as well as seriously impeding their learning outcomes. Such attacks and the military use of schools can also put children’s and teachers’ lives at serious risk, and cause massive damage to educational systems. These attacks gravely go against every child’s right to an education and are in direct violation of international humanitarian law.”
The Peace Prize party precedes the launch of an international initiative to make schools safe and stop armed groups from using schools for military purposes. The initiative will be discussed by representatives of 20 countries in Geneva on Dec. 16. A declaration on safe schools has been put forward to make schools zones of peace to minimize the negative impact that armed conflict has on students’ safety and education. The Safe Schools declaration, if implemented, could lead to millions more children attending school.