BANGKOK, 11 January 2019 – UNICEF is deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the children attending Bukoh School in Pattani Province, where gunmen attacked and killed four armed defense volunteers who were present on the school premises. According to available information, the attack happened yesterday at mid-day when children were having lunch. One child was reportedly slightly injured by debris, and some children reportedly witnessed the attack.
This attack has undoubtedly put the school children, the teachers and school personnel in harm’s way. It has put children at grave risk of injury or death. Children who have witnessed the attack or were present at the school during the attack could face long term negative psychological impact. Such violence could also affect parents’ willingness to send their children to school – potentially to the detriment of many children’s learning and future development.
Psychosocial support should be immediately extended to children and their families, teachers and other school personnel, to assess and address any psychological harm caused by the incident and to aid the affected persons to cope and recover.
UNICEF strongly condemns all violent attacks on schools. A school must be a safe place for every child. Only when children feel safe and protected in their school, can they fully learn and engage in education. A school must be a safe heaven, not a scene of violence.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.