UN outraged by deadly attack on girls’ school in Baghdad

UN outraged by deadly attack on girls’ school in Baghdad

Two United Nations agencies joined forces today to voice outrage at the needless waste of children’s lives after an attack on a Baghdad girls’ school killed five students and injured at least 20 others.

“The apparently deliberate targeting of children in this incident is an unforgivable crime,” said Representative for Iraq Roger Wright, of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Country Director Mohamed Djelid, of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“This is yet another tragic reminder of the risks facing Iraq’s schoolchildren every day as they struggle amidst the insecurity to receive their right to education,” they added in a statement released in Amman.

This latest attack is further evidence of the violence and threat of violence disrupting the education system across parts of Baghdad, as many parents have stopped sending their children to school out of fear. Girls’ schools in particular have suffered, and the majority of children out of school in Baghdad are now girls.

A joint UNICEF, UNESCO and Iraqi Government study estimates that approximately 600,000 Iraqi children in the primary age group are out of school, and of that number, 74 percent are girls.

UNICEF and UNESCO have called upon all parties in Iraq to guarantee that schools remain a safe sanctuary for children.

Mr. Wright and Mr. Djelid also called for greater protection of the “fundamental right” of education for children, stating that “every school should be an oasis and education a lifeline for Iraq’s children during this time of crisis – nurturing their development, stimulating their minds and giving them hope for the future.”