Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the violence that has been reported as taking place in Gaza’s classrooms. The alarming reports Cite the use of corporal punishment, fights between students and bullying, and attacks on teachers.
Approximately two weeks ago, a student’s family members allegedly physically attacked a teacher, claiming that the teacher had assaulted their child during class. The event was not the first of its kind, and stories of corporal punishment in classrooms are frequently voiced. Such instances of violence raise questions about the current approach to education in Gaza and reaffirm the need to bring the education system in-line with the international standard of “best interests” of the child.
In a recent opinion piece published in Ma’an and based on the witness accounts of children, the author, Ahid Jaradat, argued that general violence continues to be present in a significant number of schools in the occupied Palestinian territory. Al Mezan stresses that a child’s right to education, free from violence, is crucial for the child’s wellbeing and is one of the most valuable assets in community development and nation-building. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011) reaffirms that human rights based “education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace, security and the promotion of development and human rights.” The right to education is firmly enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law—any violence that is coupled with that education can stifle the child’s growth in school, home life and in the community.
The use of violence in education, be it physical or psychological, undermines the child’s ability to access their right to education and contradicts the common pursuit of eradicating violence on the community level. Furthermore, school violence generates fear of expression and contributes to the suppression of opinion in society. The phenomenon contradicts the ultimate mission of schooling, which is to stimulate intellectual development of all citizens.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the use of corporal punishment on students and assault on teachers, and demands that such instances of violence be independently investigated by the authorities.
Al Mezan urges the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to adopt new and clear strategies that will prohibit, eradicate and criminalize physical and psychological violence in schools.
 See https://www.maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=838917
 The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011) Annex, Available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/Training/Compilation/Pages/UnitedNationsDeclarationonHumanRightsEducationandTraining(2011).aspx