Education International
Education International

EI Congress condemns attack on Norwegian youth camp

published 23 July 2011 updated 6 September 2011

Participants at the EI World Congress have held a one-minute’s silence this morning in memory of the 84 people who died when a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, just hours after a deadly bombing in the capital, Oslo.

Police have charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man over both attacks.

The man, who was dressed as a police officer, was arrested on Utoeya Island after an hour-long shooting spree of children. The Oslo bombing killed at least seven. The search for other victims is continuing.

Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, whose offices were among those badly hit by the blast, described the attacks as a national tragedy. “The attacks were like a nightmare. Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this scale.”

A one-minute’s silence was observed by the 1,800 participants at EI's sixth World Congress which is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22-26 July, in memory of all teachers, education workers, and students who have been killed in attacks in or around educational centres .

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said: “Congress expresses its deepest sympathy and solidarity with the people of Norway, with the families of the victims and with all those affected by these terrible events … Educators around the world condemn these acts of extremism.”

EI Vice-President, Haldis Holst, from the Education Union of Norway (UEN), lamented the murders of so many potential leaders among the next generation of Norwegians. “These were young activists, our students, training to become leaders of the future. It is an enormous loss,” she said.

UEN President, Mimi Bjerkestrand, said: “On behalf of the Norwegian delegation, I want to express our deepest gratitude for the sympathy and solidarity we have felt from all of you after the shocking events in our otherwise peaceful country. These are terrible and violent acts, and we condemn them.”

Ms Bjerkestrand added: “We will also convey your feelings of sadness and sympathy to all the affected families and our fellow countrymen.”

Mr van Leeuwen’s statement to the sixth World Congress about the tragic bombings in Norway can be found here.

Deadly shootings worldwide

July 2011: At least 84 killed at a summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utoeya, hours after bomb blast in capital Oslo;

April 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, killed 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in the USA;

April 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, kills 16 people before killing himself in Erfurt, Germany;

April 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, open fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, USA, killing 13 people before taking their own lives;

April 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, killed 35 people in the seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia;

March 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, killed 16 children and their teacher in a school in Dunblane, Scotland, before killing himself.