VIOLENT conflict is robbing 28 million children of education by exposing them to widespread rape and other sexual violence, warns a UNESCO report.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's 2011 Global Monitoring Report, it cautions that the world is not on track to achieving the Education for All goals by 2015 that over 160 countries signed up to in 2000.
"Although there has been progress in many areas, most of the goals will be missed by a wide margin especially in conflict regions. Armed conflict remains a major roadblock to human development in many parts of the world, yet its impact on education is widely neglected," stated UNESCO director general Irina Bokova.
The report states that rape and other sexual violence have been widely used as a war tactic in many countries, adding that insecurity and fear associated with sexual violence kept young girls, in particular, out of school.
The report calls for an end to a culture of impunity surrounding sexual violence, with stronger monitoring of human rights violations affecting education, a more rigorous application of existing international law and the creation of an International Commission on Rape and Sexual Violence backed by the International Criminal Court.
"Armed conflict is diverting public funds from education into military spending and many of the poorest countries spend significantly more on arms than on basic education. Humanitarian aid system is failing children, and there is need for a major overhaul in aid to education in conflict-affected countries," states the report.
The report further outlines the considerable progress that has been made in education since 2000 but warns that the number of children out of school stood at 67 million in 2008, and is falling too slowly to meet the Education for All target by 2015.
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