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UNICEF condemns attacks on schools in Pak

Concerned over increasing number of attacks on school buildings in north-western Pakistan, the UN children's agency has called for greater efforts to protect what are supposed to be safe spaces for children.

world Updated: Jan 24, 2009 10:55 IST

Concerned over increasing number of attacks on school buildings in north-western Pakistan, the UN children's agency has called for greater efforts to protect what are supposed to be safe spaces for children.

"UNICEF condemns these attacks, which rob children of their basic right to education and have a devastating impact on their lives," said Daniel Toole, UNICEF's regional director for South Asia.

Since 2007, more than 170 schools, particularly girls' schools, have been blown up or burned down in the Federally Administered Tribal Area and the North West Frontier Province, reportedly by illegal armed groups, the UNICEF said.

Several schools have also been closed due to occupation by illegal armed groups or security forces, or due to their female teachers being threatened, it said.

In a recent incident, five schools were blown up in the Pakistan's Swat district and similar attacks continue to be reported. UNICEF stressed that schools must be safe spaces for children, in times of peace and in conflicts or emergencies.

"Attacks that target schools, educational institutions, children and teachers are unacceptable and must cease immediately," Toole added.