Being Kept Behind: The impact of conflict on the education of Yemen's children

This report focuses on how the current conflict in Yemen is undermining children’s rights – in particular school age children’s right to an education.


This report provides an overview of the scale of the threat to education in Yemen, the resulting educational needs, and the response needed by the international community to redouble efforts to uphold existing international laws and agreements that exist to protect children’s rights during armed conflict.

Since 2015, 87 states have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, a political commitment to protect children, teachers, schools and universities from attack and take measures to stop the military use of education facilities during conflict. The UK and France have made this commitment, but despite the clear evidence of attacks on schools by the Saudi-led coalition, they have continued to provide the coalition with political backing and military support through arms sales.

These inconsistencies pose a threat to attempts to uphold the international rules-based system. Calling out violations of international law ring hollow, in this conflict and across the world, when governments including the UK, continue to profit from the Saudi-led coalition. With the conflict now into its fifth year, there is an urgency with which the international community must act to reinforce their obligations under international law to protect children and educational institutions, condemn perpetrators of violations and abuses and hold them to account. This matters not only in the immediate term for the protection of children’s rights in Yemen, as in other conflicts but also in the longer term for the credibility and survival of the rules based international order.  

In this report War Child call on the international community to implement five key recommendations: 

  • Reinforce existing legal and political frameworks to protect schools and endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration and its guidelines in full 
  • Increase funding to restore damaged and destroyed schools and provide funding to overcome other barriers to children’s ability to access education  
  • Press parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law and existing commitments based on political agreements 
  • Support all international efforts to investigate violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and violations and abuses of international human rights law (IHRL) and take every effort to ensure accountability for atrocities committed in Yemen  
  • Immediately cease arms transfers and military support to all parties to the conflict 


Download the report to read more.