School Attacked in Ukraine

In Krasnohorivka, a city of 15,000 people west of Donetsk in Ukrainian government-controlled territory, the only Ukrainian language school in the city, "School Number 3", was attacked back in June. Nikolayevna, the schools former principal, told Human Rights Watch about the events. On June 3, in the early morning, heavy artillery fire began from the direction of rebel-held territory. The shelling continued for 13 hours. There were 12 direct hits on the school, while more craters marked the school grounds. There was a military checkpoint around 700 meters from the school. That may have been a target, but the pattern of the shelling suggested that even if that was a target, the rebels were also targeting the school. During the conflict in eastern Ukraine, both sides have used schools as bases. Targeted attacks on a school that is not being used for military purposes are war crimes. The attacks are also making it much harder for School Number 3’s students to get a good education. The school is no longer open despite the best efforts of the community to repair the damage. Students from this school and three others in Krasnohorivka damaged during the conflict have been moved to the town’s only remaining operational school. But merging the students has led to overcrowding, requiring the school to operate on double shifts. This is an issue! Lives of children are being endangered and this is not the only case of schools being attacked that you will see on the news. It happens all too often! We need to find a way to protect schools from these acts! Please share any ideas you have.

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