Fri 19 Apr 2024 8:34 pm - Jerusalem Time

UN experts warn of “educational genocide” in Gaza

“Continued cruel attacks on Gaza’s educational infrastructure” are having a devastating long-term impact on residents’ basic rights to learn and express themselves freely, depriving another generation of Palestinians of their future, UN experts said.

“With more than 80% of schools in Gaza damaged or destroyed, it may be reasonable to ask whether there is a deliberate effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system, an act known as educational genocide,” the independent experts said.

“Educational genocide” refers to the systematic erasure of education through the arrest, detention, or killing of teachers, students, and staff, and the destruction of educational infrastructure, according to the United Nations.

195 heritage sites were destroyed or damaged, including the Central Archives of Gaza, which contains 150 years of history, in addition to 227 mosques and three churches. Thirteen public libraries were also damaged or destroyed, and the Israeli occupation army blew up Al-Isra University, the last remaining university in Gaza, on January 17.

The experts confirmed that UN schools that “housing forcibly displaced civilians are being bombed, including in areas designated by the Israeli army as safe.”

They stressed that these attacks are not isolated incidents, but rather “represent a systematic pattern of violence aimed at dismantling the foundations of Palestinian society,” and said: “When schools are destroyed, hopes and dreams are destroyed as well.”

The experts said they were equally horrified by the crushing of Gaza's cultural sector, through the destruction of libraries and cultural heritage sites, and added: "The foundations of Palestinian society are being reduced to rubble, and its history is being erased."

“Attacks on education cannot be tolerated. The international community must send a clear message that those who target schools and universities will be held accountable,” the experts continued, adding that accountability for these violations includes a commitment to fund and rebuild the education system.

“We owe it to the children of Gaza to support their right to education and pave the way for a more peaceful and just future,” they said.


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UN experts warn of “educational genocide” in Gaza