Seminar marks UN International Day for the Protection of Schools from Attack


The University of Greenwich law school has joined with the Netherlands Defence Academy to organise an online seminar on the protection of schools during armed conflict.

The seminar takes place on Wednesday 9 September (3pm to 5.15pm GMT). Earlier this year, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 9 September as the 'International Day to Protect Education from Attack'.

Steven Haines, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Greenwich, drafted the Safe Schools Declaration, aimed at protecting schools in conflict zones. The guidelines were praised this week by UK diplomat Sonia Farrey, during a UN Security Council debate (here, 1hr 44 mins in).

To date, the Safe Schools Declaration has been endorsed by 105 States, over half of the countries in the world.

Professor Haines said: "In contemporary armed conflicts, education often comes under attack. Students and educators are injured and killed, and school buildings are used for non-educational purposes, and destroyed as collateral damage or intentionally targeted.

"The UN Secretary-General has reported that in Syria alone 262 attacks on schools took place in 2019. Such attacks not only have a direct impact on students and teachers, but also have far-reaching consequences after the end of a conflict, hampering education also during post-conflict reconstruction. There is no more fitting time than now to host this seminar."

Steven Haines,
Professor of Public International Law, School of Law and Criminology, University of Greenwich

Marten Zwanenburg
Professor of Military Law, the Netherlands Defence Academy

Rogier Bartels
Lecturer, the Netherlands Defence AcademyTo register for the seminar please email