Since the beginnings of 2012, at least 70 teachers and over 100 students have been killed or wounded in northern Nigeria. Educational facilities have been burned, thousands of children forced out of schools and teachers made to flee for safety. The purpose of this briefing is to draw attention to the damaging effects of this on-going violence. It calls on the Islamist armed group Boko Haram and other gunmen to immediately cease all attacks on schools; and on the Nigerian authorities to provide better protection for schools and ensure that attacks are properly investigated.

This report begins by examining some of the explicit and implicit causes of attacks on girls’ education during peacetime and in situations of crisis, including settings of armed conflict, political instability and widespread criminal violence. It looks at the impact of attacks against girls accessing education on their rights to and within educational systems as well as the broader consequences of these attacks on the promotion and protection of human rights through education by focusing on the linkages between education and a host of other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The applicable international legal and policy framework is then outlined and the situation of girls accessing education within settings of crisis, political instability and conflict is analysed in greater detail. The final section of the report provides several recommendations to States and other stakeholders aimed at preventing and redressing violations of girls’ rights to, within and through education.