For the last six years, education in eastern Ukraine has been under attack.
The conflict, which began in February 2014, has also affected more than 3,500 schools located on or near the ‘contact line’, the front line that separates the parties to the conflict. This amounts to an estimated 670,000 children and 66,000 educational staff going to school and working in unstable, frightening, and violent environments. The impact of the conflict on education and other human rights has been profound.
As the conflict enters its sixth year, and despite multiple ceasefire agreements, most recently in December 2019, children like Dima and Anna continue to be affected by the conflict. The existing situation of humanitarian need and overstretched public services has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which reached Ukraine in March 2020.
However, even in times of armed conflict, human rights must be guaranteed. If anything, they become even more important and vital for survival – and the possibility of a transition to peace.
All parties to the conflict have human rights obligations to ensure that children can continue to go to school, that schools are protected from attack, that the impacts on the right to education are minimized, and that education is not used as a weapon of war. However, evidence shows that this has not been the case