Around the world, higher education communities are overwhelmed by frequent attacks on scholars, students, staff, and their institutions. State and non-state actors, including armed militant and extremist groups, police and military forces, government authorities, off-campus groups, and even members of higher education communities, among others, carry out these attacks, which often result in deaths, injuries, and deprivations of liberty.
At the end of 2019, at least 13.4 million school-age children (5-17 years old) were internally displaced due to conflict or violence. These numbers are likely an underestimate with many internally displaced children unaccounted for due to lack of data. The periods of internal displacement are becoming longer, with years becoming decades and internally displaced children spending the majority of their school-years displaced. The majority of these children do not have access to quality, safe and inclusive education due to discrimination, financial, legal, and insecurity barriers.
Sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school. The aim of getting all girls into school was never fully realised, and the proportion of students who are girls is even falling in some parts of the country. The vast majority of the millions of Afghan children not in school are girls, and only 37 percent of adolescent girls are literate, compared to 66 percent of adolescent boys.
This report documents how violence, threats and intimidation carried out by parties to the conflict in Afghanisatn directly harmed or impacted health and education personnel, reduced the availability of healthcare,and limited children’s access to essential health and education services. Schools and hospitals were damaged or destroyed by targeted attacks and crossfire, with many remaining closed due to insecurity, threats or military use.
This report begins by examining some of the explicit and implicit causes of attacks on girls’ education during peacetime and in situations of crisis, including settings of armed conflict, political instability and widespread criminal violence.