UNICEF and UNESCO call for respecting children's right to education in Haiti amidst escalating insecurity and socio-political instability

Joint statement attributable to Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative, and Tatiana Villegas-Zamora, UNESCO Representative in Haiti.

01 February 2024
Deux élèves de l'Ecole nationale Ducasse René sont contentes de reprendre le chemin de l'école.
UNICEF/Opota

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Haiti), 2nd February 2024 – Expressing concern over the impact of armed violence and ongoing socio-political instability on school operations, as well as the looming threat of further escalation, UNICEF and UNESCO unite their voice to highlight the grave consequences of frequent school closures in the country, depriving thousands of children of their right to education.

In recent months, several schools, particularly in the Artibonite department and the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, have shuttered due to fears of being ensnared in violence perpetrated by armed groups. Additionally, numerous temporary closures have occurred due to disruptions associated with political and/or union-related demonstrations and protests across various departments, notably in Grand'Anse and the North-East.

Furthermore, some educational institutions have closed to accommodate displaced families. The number of internally displaced people surged from 200,000 in November 2023 to approximately 314,000 by January 2024, with over half being children (172,000).

Beyond depriving children of their right to education, this situation impedes access to essential social services, thereby hindering humanitarian efforts aimed at providing emergency assistance to those in need.

Faced with this situation, UNICEF, and UNESCO advocate for the protection of children's right to education. Schools must serve as inviolable sanctuaries, shielded from external disruptions.

UNICEF and UNESCO urge all influential stakeholders in Haitian society to safeguard students, educators, parents, and educational infrastructure, in alignment with the Safe Schools Declaration, endorsed by over 111 countries worldwide, including Haiti.

In a formal appeal to the entire educational community, UNICEF and UNESCO emphasize the imperative to preserve education in all its forms, ensuring that schools remain nurturing environments where students can thrive. Teachers, as pivotal figures in the education system, must be safeguarded by all parties.

UNICEF and UNESCO reiterate their support for national authorities, urging them to enact measures to protect education in accordance with guidelines established by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attacks (GCPEA) and allocate sufficient resources to ensure children's access to education in conducive learning environments.

UNICEF and UNESCO reaffirm their commitment to fostering positive change in education. Education is a fundamental right; let us collectively strive to uphold it.

For more information, please contact:

Lalaina F. Andriamasinoro, UNICEF Haiti, Tel: +50937048893, lfandriamasinoro@unicef.org

Gessika Thomas, UNICEF Haiti, Tel: +50947503125, gethomas@unicef.org

Khadim Sylla, UNESCO Haiti, Tel: +509 3709 7416, k.sylla@unesco.org

Media contacts

Lalaina F. Andriamasinoro
Chief communication
UNICEF Haiti
Tel: +50937048893
Gessika Thomas
Communication officer
Tel: +50947503125

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