United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged governments to take greater action to ensure schools remain safe for boys and girls.
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Ms Catherine Russell, made the call on Wednesday, following the latest deadly school shooting in the United States.
No fewer than 19 children and two teachers were killed on Tuesday when 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, opened fire at Robb Elementary School in the small city of Uvalde, Texas, located near the border with Mexico.
According to Russell, there have already been “horrific attacks” this year on schools in Afghanistan, Ukraine, the U.S., West Africa and beyond.
“Tragedy after tragedy, shooting after shooting, young life after young life.
“How many more children will die before government leaders act to keep children and their schools safe? Because until they do, these horrors will continue,” she said in a statement.
Russell emphasised that outside of their homes, school is the one place where children should feel safest.
She noted that in addition to the lives lost, many more children, teachers and school staff who witnessed the carnage would bear the emotional and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, was deeply shocked and saddened by “the heinous mass shooting,” saying it was particularly heart-wrenching that most of the victims were children.
Guterres extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the entire community, his Spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, also expressed outrage in a post on Twitter.
“When children go to school, they should only be concerned about learning.
“Children should not go to school fearing for their lives!,” she wrote.
Mohammed said her heartfelt prayers were with the families, classmates and teachers who were mourning this “devastating loss.”