Education International expresses concern about the rapidly deteriorating security situation and mounting sectarian violence, within Iraq and beyond its borders.
The violence has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and has been marked by numerous human rights violations also affecting schools, children and teachers, particularly in the regions of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit.
In recent weeks, EI has been notified by its affiliate the Iraqi Teacher Union (ITU) of targeted attacks against teacher union leaders and their families by the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other armed militia.
It is not the first time that in Iraq violence has been used against teacher union leaders who are actively engaged in building a democratic, independent and cross sectarian education union. On 5 June the ITU Vice-President in Mosul, Hussein Darwish, was assassinated on his way to work. He leaves behind six children. Family members of the previous ITU President, Ahmed Jassam Salih, were also assassinated recently.
Education International appeals to the international community and all parties in Iraq to work towards a peaceful, democratic civil society, where human rights are respected, where education unions can function freely and where schools are safe.
Also, EI is working closely with its affiliates* in the areas worst affected, assessing the immediate needs of the teachers and pupils affected by the conflict and the damage caused to school buildings. We call on the UN agencies to scale-up assistance to the growing number of displaced people.
* Education International is the global union federation of teachers which represents over 30 million members in 171 countries including the Iraqi Teachers Union and the Kurdistan Teachers Union.