from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE destruction of schools and subsequent failure by thousands of minors to attend class is exposing the youngsters to recruitment by rival factions battling for the control of Libya’s capital city.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed concern at this possibility as the recent escalation of violence in and around Tripoli takes a devastating toll on children’s education.
In recent days, five schools have been destroyed and 210 others shut, pushing over 115 000 children out of school in the Abu Salim, Ain-Zara and Soug al Juma’aa areas of the capital.
Last Friday, four schools came under attack in the Soug al Jum’aa locality, east of Tripoli, causing extensive damage and affecting nearly 3 000 students.
“Children who are out of school are at a heightened risk of violence and recruitment into the fighting,” warned Alla Almsri, UNICEF Libya spokesperson.
The official stated recent attacks on educational facilities and overall insecurity in and around Tripoli were putting children’s lives on the line just by going to school each day.
“No parent should ever have to choose between their children’s education and their safety. Rather than safe places to learn and to grow, schools in Tripoli have become places of fear,” Almsri said.
UNICEF warned that attacks on education facilities are a grave violation against children’s rights, international humanitarian law and human rights law.
“Depriving children of the opportunity to learn has a devastating impact on their wellbeing and future,” Almsri said.
The Government of National Accord and Libyan National Army are battling for control of Tripoli.
– CAJ News