Qatar is deeply concerned with access of children and youth to education in Afghanistan, and is doing its utmost to support them, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.
He made the observation while participating in the high-level event to commemorate the International Day to Protect Education from Attack (September 9) on Thursday.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said Qatar is honoured to host this important event to mark the second International Day to Protect Education from Attack. "Over a year ago, the State of Qatar spearheaded the efforts that led to the adoption of landmark Resolution 74/275, establishing September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack," he said. "We did this because education is a core political and development priority for the State of Qatar."
HE Sheikh Mohamed continued, “We deeply believe in education’s transformative power. Therefore, it is of key importance that we ensure the continuation of education during armed conflict, and to provide and facilitate international co-operation and assistance programmes working to prevent or respond to attacks on education. This is not an option but an imperative.
"It is an imperative because education gives girls and boys hope, confidence and dignity. It equips them with knowledge and skills to escape poverty. It saves lives and reduces the spread of preventable diseases and pandemics."
Education plays a vital role in rebuilding conflict-affected communities as they transition to peace, he stressed. "By influencing people’s attitudes and behaviours, education is a key channel for better mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for each other and our planet."
"We all know this to be true. Yet, millions of children and youth are out of school due to living in - or having fled an emergency or conflict," HE Sheikh Mohamed said. "Furthermore, in recent years there has been a significant increase of attacks on schools and their infrastructure, resulting in an alarming number of children denied access to quality education. What worries the State of Qatar the most is that many of the affected children and youth will be forgotten and they might never resume their education."
"We must also prioritise the education of girls in conflict situations. When girls are not in school, the risk to their safety and dignity mounts significantly," he added.
About the situation in Afghanistan, he said Qatar is deeply concerned with the access of children and youth to education.
“For instance, a group of 111 Afghan schoolgirls attending a special leadership school in Kabul, sponsored by the Government of Qatar, were able to fly out to Doha. Members of Afghanistan’s famous girls’ robotics team are also in Qatar. They were flown out of Kabul to Doha with the assistance of the Qatari government. They will be given the chance to continue their education and robotics work."
“We are as well working continuously with our international partners to protect civilians in Afghanistan in the context of the current political situation in the country, including students and scholars, citizens of friendly countries and journalists who are seeking to leave Afghanistan by providing safe passage to travel to Doha and beyond," he pointed out.
“To conclude my remarks, I would like to reaffirm that the State of Qatar spares no efforts to strengthen monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including investment in data collection and analysis, in order to ensure accountability for violations committed against children and teachers, as well as attacks against schools in contravention of international humanitarian law,” HE Sheikh Mohamed added.
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