Armed Conflict: Education

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to sign the Safe Schools Declaration.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

While the UK Government welcomes the spirit of the Safe Schools Declaration, we remain concerned that the accompanying Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military use during Armed Conflict do not mirror the exact language of International Humanitarian Law.

Under International Humanitarian Law, the UK already affords schools and educational establishments a high degree of protection during military operations. We take these international obligations very seriously and believe better implementation of, and compliance with, International Humanitarian Law by all parties to armed conflict provides the best protection for civilians, including children. For this reason, the UK Government has not signed the declaration.

The UK Government will, however, continue to keep this policy under review.

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