The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a new report Friday, argued that attacks on education, which have seen a steep rise in four countries, should be a trigger for Security Council intervention in an effort to put an end to them. The four countries, where the attacks on schools, teachers and students have increased dramatically, are: Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Thailand. The report, 'Education under Attack 2010', said the 15-member council's involvement could come through its monitoring and reporting mechanism on children in armed conflict, on par with action now being taken to combat child soldiering. The study recommended that investigations be launched by the International Criminal Court against high profile attackers as a deterrent, it said. The report's other findings, he said it contained descriptions of attacks on students, such as the forced recruitment of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also discussed instances of sexual violence against children at school, or on their way to school. The UNESCO report said the motives for attacks varied widely, from preventing the education of girls or knowledge of an alien culture, philosophy or ethnic identity to undermining government power and taking revenge for civilian killings. "In some circumstances and in some countries ... going to school is a life-threatening activity," Mark Richmond, a senior education official at UNESCO said at a news conference launching the report. "It is not mindless violence. It is calculated and deliberate violence. It is designed to stop education." The report found attacks on education in a greater number of countries than the first global study in 2007 which named Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Nepal, the Palestinian territories, Thailand and Zimbabwe as some of "the worst-affected countries." The latest report cited incidents in 32 countries and said "attacks intensified dramatically in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Thailand." "One thing is very clear this problem is not going away," Richmond said. "There are ups and downs in terms of which countries are affected, the intensity of the attacks, the severity of the injuries and the damage being done. But there are new examples and there are more countries." According to figures from the U.N. children's agency UNICEF cited in the report, the number of attacks on schools, students and staff nearly tripled in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, from 242 to 670. In Pakistan's Swat District, at the center of the battle between the army and the Taliban, UNESCO said local officials reported that 356 schools were destroyed. In India, nearly 300 schools were reportedly blown up by Maoist rebels between 2006 and 2009, according to the report. And in Thailand, it said the number of attacks on schools quadrupled between 2006 and 2007 to 164, but fell back in 2008 though killings of teachers, students and security escorts for teachers continued. Attacks on teachers and students continue to be a matter of "grave concern," the report said. For example, in Iraq, 71 academics, two education officials and 37 students were killed in assassinations and targeted bombings between 2007 and 2009, and in Colombia, 90 teachers were murdered from 2006 to 2008, UNESCO said. UNESCO said two short military operations also took a heavy toll. During the Georgian-Russian war in South Ossetia in August 2008, it said 127 education institutions were destroyed or damaged, and during the three-week deadly Israeli bombing in Gaza in 2008-2009, more than 300 kindergarten, school and university buildings were damaged. The UNESCO report said many attacks occurred "in conflict-affected countries or under regimes with a poor record on human rights and democratic pluralism." From 2007 to 2009, it said, "state forces or state-backed forces have either beaten, arrested, tortured, threatened with murder or shot dead students, teachers, and/or academics in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe." The 248-page report, "Education Under Attack 2010," calls for stepped up measures to prevent attacks including armed guards at schools and armed escorts to and from school. It also calls for the prosecution of those responsible for attacks and international action to promote respect for all educational institutions "as sanctuaries and zones of peace." "Without education in safety and security," Richmond said, "the very possibility of building and rebuilding stable socieities will be prevented and that is happening." (AP) Preventing future attacks hinges on understanding their motives, the report stressed, even though analysis is impeded by factors including limited quality monitoring and reporting and the suppression of information in situations where perpetrators are repressive regimes. The study called for involving communities in the running and defence of schools and for renegotiating the re-opening of schools, based on research and a successful program in Afghanistan. Community initiatives have been encouraged in the Asian nation since 2006 to mobilize people to deter or resist attacks, with school protection shura, or councils, having been set up. The report also recommended protective measures such as providing armed groups at schools or for aiding in transportation to or from school and providing distance learning if schools were deemed unsafe.