Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on July 9 bomb attack in Afghanistan
KABUL - "On 9 July, an explosion in the vicinity of a school south of Kabul reportedly killed at least 25 people, including 15 children. This appalling incident follows other attacks in and around schools in Afghanistan that have also resulted in death and injury to children.
"UNICEF has recorded 98 school incidents in the period from 1 May until 24 June 2009. Incidents have included direct attacks by small arms and rockets, arson, and threats.
"These attacks, whenever they occur, pull the country backwards and threaten the significant advances that have been made in education and child health in recent years. Any upsurge in violence makes it increasingly difficult to sustain that progress and build on it.
"Schools filled with students are a visible sign of reconstruction and advancement. Children and their families in Afghanistan recognize the importance of education even in difficult times, as demonstrated by the millions of children who are now enrolled in school.
"There has been a dramatic rise in primary school enrollment in Afghanistan in recent years especially among girls.
"Even where they do not suffer directly from the violence, when children are not allowed to feel safe at school, or traveling to school, their education and their prospects suffer, and the futures of their families and their communities are undermined.
"Like children everywhere, the children of Afghanistan have a right to be protected from violence and to develop free of threats, intimidations and violent attacks. UNICEF calls on all parties involved in the fighting to respect this right."