Statement by Julia Gillard on the Abduction of Students in South Sudan

It is with utmost dismay that I condemn the abduction of more than 80 students by an armed group in Malakal in South Sudan. It is shocking to hear that the children were attacked while taking exams at school. This is unacceptable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Schools have to be safe places where children can learn and teachers teach without fear of being attacked. The recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups is a grave violation of international law.

The Global Partnership for Education works closely with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack and urges all parties to armed conflicts to act in accordance with and help enable the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.

Our  hearts and thoughts are with the abducted children and their families.

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