HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, member of the Group of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocates, yesterday took part in ‘Law, Education and the SDG’s’ seminar; part of The Hague Institute for Global Justice’s Distinguished Seminar Series.
The event was also attended by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, political leaders, NGO chiefs and the diplomatic community.
In a speech HH Sheikha Moza delivered before the seminar, she issued a stark warning to the international community, saying that education is being used as “an instrument of war” and unless we “break the vicious cycle of violence” the 2030 sustainable development agenda will not be delivered.
Speaking as a UN Sustainable Development Advocate and founder of Education Above All (EAA), HH Sheikha Moza argued that education is a vital tool in peace-building and conflict prevention:
“Now, more than ever, we need to reassert our common goal - to protect education during war. To provide education even in conflict and insecurity. This is when it is most difficult, and yet most urgent, to build sustainable peace.”
She also argued that peace and security will only be possible when all nations adhere to international law.
HH Sheikha Moza said that the UN Security Council - the body charged with ensuring international peace - is “broken in exactly those situations where it is needed most - to hold to account those who commit grave violations of international law.”
She urged the world to recognise the “human horror” and “lifelong trauma” inflicted on millions of children when education is attacked and schools are destroyed:
“A child’s future takes years to build. But when conflict breaks out, and when a school is bombed, it is not only bricks that crumble. For bricks can be replaced. What can never be replaced is the hearts and futures of children.
“So when you see on your screens the horrors of war, the destruction of schools, please, look beyond the piles of bricks. See children who no longer fill those classrooms. See children who are left on the streets. Imagine their trauma, their anger, their sense of injustice.”
Following her address, HH Sheikha Moza took part in a panel discussion with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda; Founder and President of the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), and Founder of the Graca Machel Trust, Graca Machel and the Founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), Unesco Special Envoy for Peace and UN SDG Advocate Forest Whitaker.
The event marks the start of a renewed roadmap, bringing together leading figures from across the development sector to build a programme aimed at strengthening international law to better protect children.
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