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LEBANON: Calls for armed groups to vacate schools in Ein El Helwe Camp

Armed groups must immediately cease their occupation of schools in Ein El Helwe Palestine refugee camp in the south of Lebanon, said Save the Children, after the facilities were damaged during recent fighting in the camp. The camp has eight UNRWA schools that normally provide education for up to 6,000 children.   
19 August 2023

Over three weeks of violence in Lebanon’s largest refugee camp has forced thousands of people to flee the camp which is home to up to 80,000 people, and many have been sheltering in nearby schools. 

Jennifer Moorehead, Save the Children’s Country Director in Lebanon, said: 

“Schools should be safe places of learning for children and communities and must be free from attacks at all times, including occupation by any armed individual. Learning cannot and should not be put aside in times of crisis; it is crucial to children’s protection, survival and their future. Schools that are protected save lives. They guard children from injury and exploitation, alleviate the psychological impact of violence by offering routine and stability, provide an avenue for children to reach their full potential and, when conflict sensitive, contribute to peace. All children have the right to a safe education under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child.

“Attacks on schools and other education facilities are classified as a grave violation committed against children. When schools are used for military purposes, children are unable to access education, the safety of the learning spaces is compromised, and schools are more likely to be targeted for further attacks. In last year’s report on Children in Armed Conflict issued by the UN, four verified cases of attacks on schools in Palestine refugee camps were documented, a significant increase on the previous year. This is a deeply concerning trend that must be monitored at the highest level and addressed immediately.   

“All parties must uphold and protect the civilian nature of schools, students, and education staff - and refrain from military-related use of educational facilities.”  


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