May 28, 2024

Qatar condemns Israel’s targeting of educational institutions, cultural sites, killing of journalists in Gaza

Qatar has condemned the targeting of civilians, educational institutions, and cultural sites, and the killing of journalists and their families in Gaza, affirming its condemnation of any such practices worldwide.

This statement was made during Qatar’s participation in the 219th session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris from March 13 to 27.

In his speech before the plenary session of the Board, Permanent Representative of Qatar to UNESCOHE Dr Nasser bin Hamad Al Hanzab said that Qatar strongly condemns the targeting of educational institutions and cultural sites, and the killing of journalists and their families in Gaza, pointing to the Israeli occupation forces’ bombing of Al Fakhoura School for the second time, as well as the destruction of many other educational institutions and heritage sites, including the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza, a significant heritage landmarks witnessing the succession of civilizations in occupied Palestine, in addition to targeting churches.

Hestressed that these practices constitute crimes against humanity, prohibited by all relevant international conventions and agreements.

Dr Al Hanzab reaffirmed Qatar’s support for all UNESCO efforts, playing a fundamental role in promoting a culture of peace and coexistence, stopping the bloodshed in Gaza, lifting all forms of blockade, and adhering to international legitimacy and the UNESCO General Conference’s decision regarding Gaza, looking forward to the report on this decision.

Dr Al Hanzab emphasized that Qatar, in collaboration with the Education Above All Foundation, has worked to enhance the protection of the right to education, providing quality education opportunities in many parts of the world, aiming to achieve the fourth Sustainable Development Goal in partnership with UNESCO and other international and regional actors.

He further stated that Education Above All Foundation has operated in 60 countries to provide quality education opportunities for children deprived of education, in line with achieving Sustainable Development Goals, and provided education opportunities for approximately 15 million children deprived of primary education through the implementation of over 100 projects with a total budget of more than $2.6bnin collaboration with partners. He pointed out that over the next five years, they expect to reach 32 million beneficiaries among deprived children.

Dr Al Hanzab pointed out that Education Above All Foundation has signed 11 new partnership agreements between 2022 and 2023 committing to enroll approximately 1,678,768 boys and girls through 35 projects in 36 countries to be achieved by 2026. The latest of these agreements was signed with Sciences Po University in Paris last February to enhance the vocational certification program for young refugees, by providing an additional 60 scholarships for refugee students.

He also highlighted that Qatar presented a draft resolution on protecting education from attacks during the ongoing session of the UNESCO Executive Board, as part of efforts to enhance UNESCO’s efforts to protect education worldwide.

Dr Al Hanzab addressed Qatar’s focus on implementing the Third National Development Strategy (NDS3) (2024-2030) under the theme “Building our sustainable future.”

He emphasized that education in Qatar is one of the fundamental pillars to achieve national vision goals, through adopting the latest educational technologies and advanced curricula relevant to human and social development pillars, while maintaining the essential role of family and society.

He clarified that Qatar has sought, through the efforts of state cultural institutions led by the Ministry of Culture and Qatar Museums, to enhance the role of culture as a developmental foundation in the country and to bridge cultural communication with the world through the Cultural Years initiative, which has included numerous countries starting from Japan in 2012 until 2024 with Morocco.

He pointed out Qatar’s interest in combating hate speech through education, within the framework of the United Nations’ strategy, affirming the necessity of rejecting all forms of hatred towards peoples and beliefs.

He stressed the essential role of understanding and dialogue between peoples and religions to achieve peaceful coexistence globally, where Qatar welcomed the UN General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution on combating Islamophobia and the appointment of a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.

He concluded his speech before the UNESCO Executive Board by emphasizing the importance of joint efforts through effective dialogue to support the organization’s work in consolidating best practices and programs within the framework of its medium-term strategy, aimed at enhancing UNESCO’s role in achieving its programs and goals effectively.