November 20, 2008 / 12:53 AM / 10 years ago

Nobel laureates call for education in conflict zones

LONDON (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winners called on governments on Thursday to act to ensure that millions of children in war zones can go to school.

In an open letter to world leaders and combatants in war zones, 31 Nobel laureates said that more than 70 million children around the world did not have the chance of an education and more than half of these lived in conflict areas.

The Nobel laureates included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and organizations such as Amnesty International.

“War and conflict are perpetrated by adults. But every adult was once a child and grew up with experiences and guidance that shaped their lives. At the heart of this lies education,” they said in the letter, backing a campaign by British charity Save the Children.

The Nobel laureates called on governments and other parties to armed conflicts to respect schools as places of peace and safety, where children could learn free from violence or fear of recruitment into the armed forces.

Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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