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More than 20 schools have been attacked a day in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began

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Save the Children highlights that women are the main adult refugees and are also the majority of teachers

MADRID, 4 Apr. (EUROPE PRESS) –

An average of 22 schools have been attacked every day in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began five weeks ago, Save the Children warned on Monday.

The organization, which has highlighted that military operations disrupt the education of the 5.5 million children left in Ukraine, has detailed, citing figures from the Ministry of Education, that at least 869 educational facilities, about 6 percent of all schools in the country, have been damaged, while 83 are “completely” destroyed.

About 43 percent of the attacks on schools have taken place in eastern Ukraine, where more than 400,000 children lived before the conflict escalated on February 24. Bombs have destroyed 50 educational buildings in the besieged city of Kharkov alone.

So far, more than two million children have fled the war in Ukraine, while an estimated 5.5 million remain in the country, at grave risk of physical and emotional harm as shelling continues to destroy entire neighborhoods.

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The NGO has assured that the conflict has exacerbated an “already complicated” educational context in Ukraine. Before the escalation, 30 percent of educational facilities in the east of the country did not have enough teachers.

For weeks now, thousands of teachers have been fleeing their homes every day, leading to a growing shortage of educational personnel in Ukraine. The majority of teachers in the country are women, a fact that increases the shortage given that the majority of people fleeing the conflict are, in addition to boys and girls, women.

“Education is being attacked in Ukraine,” summarized the director of Save the Children in the European country, Pete Walsh, who has called for students and teachers to be protected “from the horrors” of this war.

“Schools must be safe places and free from attacks at all times,” he added. “Learning cannot and should not be set aside in times of crisis. It is crucial for the protection, survival and future of children,” he added, before also indicating that “access to safe education gives children stability during an emergency.

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AN ACTIVE WAR EIGHT YEARS

Save the Children has also recalled that the conflict in Ukraine has been active for eight years in various parts of the country, which has already affected children’s education and has caused “hundreds” of schools to be damaged or destroyed.

Attacks on schools and other educational facilities are considered a serious violation of children’s rights and can, according to Save the Children, constitute a war crime.

In this sense, the NGO has pointed out that, while the fighting continues, there are international legal obligations to take all necessary precautions to protect the population and civilian property, including schools and hospitals.

For this reason, it has asked the parties to defend the civilian nature of schools, students and educational personnel, as well as to refrain from the military use of educational facilities. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas should also be avoided, as there is a risk of causing serious harm to the civilian population, in particular children. To date, these are the main causes of damage to civilians.

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