Sophia Fredericks, Social Engagement Intern, National Headquarters Washington D.C.
France: President Hollande of France is facing pressure to sign the Safe Schools Declaration. A petition is going around for France to finally sign this declaration in order for schools and universities to remain protected during times of armed conflict. This declaration is essential according to many. Zama-Coursen-Neff, the children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said “hundred of thousands of children worldwide find their schools under attack or used by fighting forces to wage war. The Safe Schools Declaration provides a concrete way for countries to commit to protecting children’s education, even during armed conflict.”
Fifty six countries have so far signed the declaration and there are calls for France to become the fifty seventh. Thirteen NATO members have also signed the declaration along with many other countries who have faced problems with attacks on their schools due to armed conflict. These countries include Afghanistan, the South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There are calls for an improved effort to protect schools around the world. Children and teachers are subject to being injured or killed after attacks on schools or when schools are used by military forces and end up being unfairly abused and exploited. Those who endorse the declaration pledge themselves to protect schools who may experience violence and are targets to armed attack. All children have the right to an education and should not face the harmful effects that armed conflict places on children.
Thailand: The IFRC is working to create safer streets in Thailand. They are working to promote road safety along with providing emergency assistance by partnering up with Southeast Asia. There are first aid trainings being held for Grab taxi drivers. The trainings occur once a month with the purpose of providing drivers with road safety knowledge and first aid skills. Papob Mungyoo, a Grab taxi driver, said “We taxi drivers are always on the streets. I’ve seen many small accidents happen, but before this training, I did not know what I could do. Now I’m confident that I could help in case of an emergency.”
The World Health Organization estimates that there were as many as 24,000 fatal road accidents that occurred in Thailand in 2015. The need to emphasize and address road safety and emergency response in Southeast Asia is still something that will continue to be of importance. All over the world 1.25 million people are killed each year due to road related accidents.
The IFRC’s regional director, Xavier Castellanos, said “Our global strategy is to build more resilient communities by saving lives and changing minds. The partnership with Grab is a unique opportunity to join expertise and reach of our respective networks to expand a culture of safety on the road.” There are hopes that the partnership with Grab and the IFRC will continue to provide drivers with life saving skills and knowledge all along Southeast Asia and hopefully decrease the number of road related accidents.