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.
The SMM has been monitoring the ability of children on both sides of the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions to attend classes and enjoy a safe and secure school environment since 2015.
This legal factsheet accompanies the Right to Education Initiative’s multimedia essay Caught in the crossfire: The right to education in eastern Ukraine. It has been made available for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
This report documents how both Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed militants have carried out indiscriminate or deliberate attacks on schools. Both sides have used schools for military purposes, deploying forces in and near schools, which has turned schools into legitimate military targets. The resulting destruction has forced many children out-of-school and many schools to stop operating or to operate under overcrowded and difficult conditions, Human Rights Watch found.