Backing universal education, UN educational chief condemns Nigerian abduction
May 14, 2014: Stressing the need to educate all children, the head of the United
Nations education agency on Tuesday condemned the abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria
– calling it “an attack against the aspirations of these girls” – and urged greater
cooperation among Member States on educational needs. “The universal right to education
is still contested in some places, and I take this opportunity to condemn the abduction
of more than 270 girls in Nigeria by extremist groups,” said Irina Bokova, the Director
General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Speaking
to the “Global Education for All Meeting” in Muscat, Oman, she said the response to
acts, such as the abduction a few weeks ago by Boko Haram militants, is to provide
every girl and boy with quality education. “We must never tire in supporting education
as a force for human dignity and sustainable development,” Bokova added. UNESCO
has been supporting the Nigerian Government to “bring back our girls”, Bokova said.
“ It is an unacceptable violation of human rights. It is an attack against the aspirations
of these girls,” she added. The abductions in Nigeria are the latest in a string of
increasing cases of deliberate attacks against schools, teachers and students, especially
against girls’ education, in countries across the world, according to the UN agency.
Its 2011 ‘Education for All Global Monitoring’ report spearheaded a movement to protect
schools as safe places and the human right of education. Among other key points
in her speech, Bokova underlined the importance of the Malala Fund for Girls’ Right
to Education that she launched with the Government of Pakistan in Islamabad last February.
That Fund is named for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot at
by the Taliban in 2013 for attending classes. Yousafzai is among the thousands of
people who have flooded social media with posts using the hashtag: “BringBackOurGirls.” UN: