The United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui today condemned the school attacks in Syria, which reportedly killed over 39 people, 30 of whom were children between age six and nine.
“Innocent children are once again victims of the brutal Syrian conflict. I am appalled by yesterday’s school attacks in the city of Homs,” said Ms. Zerrougui who was appointed by the Secretary-General in 2012.
According to a press release from Ms. Zerrougui’s Office, the perpetrator directly targeted schoolchildren and “timed his attack to inflict maximum casualties.”
“This is a new low in a conflict in which warring parties have already caused immense suffering to the country’s children,” she said.
According to Ms. Zerrougui’s Office, attacks on schools and hospitals have become a feature of the Syrian conflict and deprive millions of children of their right to education and health. Since 2011, over 3 million children have dropped out of school.
Thousands of schools inside Syria have closed their doors because they have been destroyed, damaged, or are now used for military purposes or as shelter for families forced to abandon their homes.
Targeting schools and schoolchildren are grave violations of international humanitarian law. Even in times of war, schools and hospitals must remain safe places for learning and healing.
Ms. Zerrougui called on all parties to the conflict to end such attacks and for perpetrators to be brought to justice.